The Investec Tri-Nations Series match between Belgium and the Investec South Africa women’s hockey team was abandoned with 26 minutes left due to persistent lightning around the Randburg Hockey Stadium Sunday afternoon.
“We had six circle entries within minutes in the second half before the rain, so it was a pity,” said Investec SA head coach Giles Bonnet. “I was not totally satisfied with the first half, we missed Tarryn [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][Bright] but we didn’t give much away.
“An area we are working on is winning the ball and against Ireland on Saturday we won the ball 35 times, a huge stat.
“But what we do when we have won the ball – the final pass, the angles we are running, the choices we make – that needs to be improved, and then we bring ourselves into a situation of getting the goal shots we want,” said Bonnet.
The tournament director waited for over an hour for conditions to improve before making the decision. SA were 1-0 up at the time.
Pietie Coetzee forced a penalty corner in the 14th minute and Kate Wood’s return pass to corner injector Marsha Marescia resulted in Lauren Penny scoring her second goal in her fifth Test.
It was fast-paced from the outset, both sides hitting the ball hard to receivers in a bid to create that split-second that might make the difference.
The competition for possession was fierce, the tight marking giving players precious little time and space in which to make the next pass.
The first real chance came in the 14th minute when Marescia’s pass-right to Nicolene Terblanche culminated in Coetzee winning the PC and Penny scoring the goal (1-0).
Woods was in commanding form in central defence, the Athens and Beijing Olympian decisive in thought and deed.
In the 21st a neat layoff by Penny saw Kathleen Taylor unfortunate not to score. Belgium also came close on two occasions while their opening PC was saved by SA goalkeeper Mariette Rix.
Marescia was everywhere, the double Olympian covering impressive ground in attack and defence, while Terblanche was putting together back-to-back quality performances after her starring role in SA’s 1-0 win over Ireland on Saturday.
Perhaps the umpires might have been stricter on what appeared to be deliberate breakdowns perpetrated by defenders on attackers that negated skilful play and restricted the flow of the match at crucial times.
After four minutes in the second half Coetzee got in a shot and then another five minutes later but with 26 minutes left play was suspended due to lightning.
Looking forward, coach Bonnet remarked: “I think Spain, Ireland and Belgium are better defensive teams than India, our main rivals at the Olympic Qualifier in Delhi, so if we can start making better final passes off the pressure we create, and are able to turn that pressure into corners like the 19 we had in our previous two matches, we will be able to do it in India.
“We never felt like we would lose the two matches this weekend but we have got to be able to close games – and that means making the second and third goal which forces the opposition to bring the game to you.”
Belgium meet Ireland at 7 pm Monday while SA are back in action against Ireland on Tuesday at the same time.
International Test Matches:25 January: RSA 1-2 IRL 26 January: RSA 2-1 BEL 27 January: BEL vs IRL
Investec Tri-Nations Tournament:28 January: RSA 1-0 IRL 29 January: BEL 0-1 RSA* Match abandoned due to inclement weather 30 January: BEL vs IRL 31 January: IRL vs RSA 1 February: BEL vs RSA 2 February: BEL vs IRL
Belgium/RSA Series:4 February: BEL vs RSA 5 February: BEL vs RSA
Results in the Investec International Series- SA vs Spain:15 January: RSA 1-1 ESP 17 January: RSA 2-3 ESP 19 January: RSA 3-1 ESP 21 January: RSA 3-0 ESP 22 January: RSA 1-1 ESP
Investec South Africa:Mariette Rix (Western Province) Kate Woods (Western Province) Shelley Russell (Western Province) Jade Mayne (Western Province) Lauren Penny (Western Province) Kathleen Taylor (Western Province) Tarryn Bright (Western Province) Marsha Marescia (capt) (Southern Gauteng) Lisa Deetlefs (Southern Gauteng) Bernadette Coston (Southern Gauteng) Pietie Coetzee (Southern Gauteng) Sanani Mangisa (Northern Blues) Dirkie Chamberlain (Northern Blues) (Northern Blues)Nicolene Terblanche Kim Hubach (Northern Blues) Lesle-Ann George (Free State) Lenise Marais (KZN Coastal Raiders) Sulette Damons (North West) Head coach: Giles Bonnet Assistant coach: Fabian Gregory