Sudden-death finish sees Black Sticks beat SA

2010-03-13 00:00

HOT on the heels of their epic 3-3 draw with India on Monday, South Africa were involved in another nerve-wracking Hockey World Cup encounter in Delhi, India yesterday.

Playing for ninth and 10th place in the 12-country tournament, world number 13 SA and world number eight New Zealand were still locked in battle at 4-4 after golden-goal extra time, the 85 minutes of hockey not having produced a winner.

Into a penalty-stroke shoot-out and after the round of five flicks, the scores were deadlocked at four apiece.

Into penalty stroke golden goal, and amid unbearable tension, it was left to Dean Couzins of the Black Sticks, to make the right choice with his sudden-death flick. The New Zealand captain netted the winner.

In regulation time, South Africa’s Justin Reid-Ross had nailed a penalty corner and team-mates Lloyd Norris-Jones, Taine Paton and Tommy Hammond had netted field goals.

The result left the South African team 10th, their equal-best standing in the Hockey World Cup competition.

Despite the disappointment, this World Cup was a triumph for South Africa on a number of levels, not least a berth in the Commonwealth Games in India later this year for finishing among the top five CG countries in Delhi, a requirement stipulated by the SA Sports Congress and Olympic Committee.

Captain Austin Smith and head coach Gregg Clark’s side are also sure to go up a place or three in the world rankings.

And yet again for the luckless South Africans, it was a last-gasp goal that ultimately cost them the match.

With 33 seconds left in regulation time and SA 4-3 up, New Zealand’s Stephen Edwards forced a penalty corner and hat-trick man Andrew Hayward netted his third penalty corner a minute after the final hooter had sounded.

Friday’s remaining results and today’s gold and bronze medal matches will be reported on in Monday’s Witness.

NZ (0) 4 (Hugo Inglis, Andrew Hayward 3) SA (1) 4 (Justin Reid-Ross, Lloyd Norris-Jones, Taine Paton, Tommy Hammond). After extra-time: still 4-4. Penalty stroke shoot-out: 4-4. Golden goal PS: 1-0.

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