SA women outplay Belgium to lead series

2015-01-29 00:00

IN what was a great exhibition of ­attacking play the South African women’s hockey team beat Belgium 3-2 after leading 2-1 at half-time in the third Test at Hartleyvale in Cape Town last night.

SA lead the six-Test series 1-0 after the first Test was drawn 1-1 and the second Test 2-2. The fourth Test is at 6.30 pm tonight.

Belgium, who led at half-time in both of the previous Tests, scored first through a well-worked penalty corner variation finished off by Manon Simons in the 22nd minute. Three minutes later (25th) SA were on level terms when Dirkie Chamberlain’s perfectly placed backhand blast crashed into the backboard (1-1).

SA were on song and striker Sulette Damons raced down the right channel, the former SA junior sprinter leaving her marker for dead, before Chamberlain effected the perfect one-two and Damons tapped the ball home for 2-1 in the 28th minute.

SA went 3-1 up in the 45th, just seconds before the third chukka ended, when captain for the day Jade Mayne shook off her markers — and Candice Manuel finished with aplomb (3-1).

SA defender Lisa Deetlefs hit the post during a spell of three consecutive PCs and four minutes from time (56th) Jill Boon pulled Belgium back to 3-2 after netting a hotly disputed goal.

It was a superb Test match ­between two willing sides intent on attack.

A mark of this Test was SA’s cohesion through the defence, midfield and striker lines with the forwards gelling well — and the result was­ ­goalscoring opportunities aplenty. Had it not been for the standout performance of keeper Aisling D’Hooghe the girls in green and gold might well have scored quite a few more.

The Belgians also created a healthy number of goalshots but keeper ­Sanani Mangisa, in her 100th Test, was on hand to save some very good opportunities conjured up by the ­Europeans.

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