The South Africa women’s hockey team were 1-0 down at half-time Thursday against reigning Olympic champs Holland in the first of two unofficial Test matches at Club Upward before the Dutch cranked up the pressure after the changeover with four field goals in the last 13 minutes to ensure a 5-0 victory.
Two superb saves by 21-year-old Dutch keeper Joyce Sombroek from world record goalscorer Pietie Coetzee, plus another off a sweetly-timed Kathleen Taylor reverse-stick shot, denied SA in the opening half. Dutch drag-flick ace Maartje Paumen had made no mistake with a disputed ninth-minute PC high to keeper Mariette Rix’s glove side.
Maartje Goderie slapped the ball first-time for 2-0 with 13 minutes left in the match before SA broke out and Coetzee won a second PC but her flick was saved by Sombroek.
With 10 left Boksburg-born Marilyn Agliotti who played for SA alongside Coetzee at Sydney 2000 before winning gold with Holland at Beijing 2008, made it 3-0 with deft stickwork down the left channel. With four left Kitty van Male found space to slap in for 4-0 before determined Dirkie Chamberlain earned SA’s third PC and Sombroek again saved from Coetzee. With seconds left Goderie showed deft touches in the left channel to set up Kelly Jonker for 5-0.
SA central defender Kate Woods and attacking midfielder Shelley Russell have been excused due to a family wedding and will join the tour for the first Great Britain match on Monday, while striker Jen Wilson (slight thigh strain) was rested as a precaution. Striker Lauren Penny returned after injury.
The Holland also rested big players in forward Kim Lammers, midfield ace Naomi van As and Eva de Goede.
SA had the match’s first opportunity in the fifth minute when Chamberlain turned over Dutch ball midway between the halfway and attacking 23-metre area, and Marsha Marescia quickly released Coetzee. From the subsequent play Kathleen Taylor was given space to unleash a reverse-stick shot that Sombroek brilliantly stick-saved diving to her right.
A sweeping SA movement down the right saw Lesle-Ann George earn SA’s first PC in the 22nd minute – Lisa Deetlefs injected, Lenise Marais trapped and Coetzee’s low flick brought another top-class stick save by Sombroek to her right.
Holland’s The PC count went to seven by half-time, a worry for SA, but a number were hotly disputed by the defenders.
While the Dutch PC count dried up, the second half was emphatically Holland’s; Lidewij van Welten’s reverse-stick effort high into the side-netting four minutes after the changeover following intricate touch passing in the left corner signalling the intent of the world’s top-ranked team, in their first match following the announcement of the Olympic team.
Rix saved and cleared half-a-dozen times, as did Sombroek on occasion as the heavens opened on a humid day.
SA defended tenaciously under enormous pressure with George making a noteworthy clearance or two close to the goalline as Marescia’s team fought to stay in the game during the prolonged period of Dutch dominance.
The second match is at 11 am Friday.
Team South Africa: Mariette Rix Kate Woods Tarryn Bright Kathleen Taylor Shelley Russell Illse Davids Lauren Penny (Western Province) Dirkie Chamberlain Nicolene Terblanche Sanani Mangisa (Northern Blues) Marsha Marescia (capt) Pietie Coetzee Lisa Deetlefs Bernie Coston (Southern Gauteng) Jen Wilson Lenise Marais (KZN Coastal Raiders) Lesle-Ann George (Free State) Sulette Damons (North West) SA pre-Olympics matches (SA time): 5 July 16:00 SA 0-5 Holland 6 July 11:00 SA vs Holland 9 July 12:00 SA vs Great Britain 10 July 19:00 SA vs Great Britain 12 July 19:45 SA vs Germany 14 July 16:00 SA vs New Zealand 15 July 12:00 SA vs Belgium 25 July SA vs Japan 27 July SA vs China