World record goalscorer Pietie Coetzee nailed a penalty corner drag-flick past outstanding Ireland goalkeeper Emma Gray in the seventh minute for the Investec South African women’s hockey team to clinch the opening Investec Tri-Nations Series match 1-0 at Randburg Astro Saturday.
With both sides making too many unforced errors, it was not a good Test match. And while South Africa made life very hard for themselves, their eight penalty corners to two against is indicative of who was on top for most of the match. On another day Coetzee, who took her world record tally of goals to 231 in 234 Test matches, would have netted a hat-trick.
The superstar striker hit the post with her first PC drag-flick while the eighth corner saw Gray make a magnificent stick save low to her right. The half-time watering of the pitch did make life difficult for the players as areas of the surface didn’t drain efficiently, while SA also used a number of corner variations to counteract the sluggish pace of the ball.
It must be said, though, that the loss of 2011 SA Player of the Year Tarryn Bright in the sixth minute after Coetzee’s PC drag-flick deflected off the post into the centre midfielder’s face, was a big blow to the team’s fluidity.
Nicole Terblanche at right half was a constant headache for Ireland’s left-side defence and she was one of the few who can look back on this match with satisfaction. Jade Mayne and a number of others did have their moments but overall the performance was inconsistent.
SA defended well at times as Lisa Jacob and Shirley McCay and company made dangerous counter-attacks but the Irish will not look back on this match with much fondness either.
Head coach Giles Bonnet’s team meet Belgium at 2 pm Sunday and will be looking for a much slicker performance in every department.
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 vs RSA 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