The South African women started their FIH Hockey Series Final with a stutter as they drew 2-2 with Wales in their opening pool game at the Poliesportiu Municipal Verge del Carme-Beteró in Valencia, Spain, on Wednesday.
The South Africans, featuring four new caps, started the game somewhat apprehensively, while the Welsh, who can’t qualify for the Olympics due to England being selected as Great Britain’s qualifying applicant, started a little more positively.
The first quarter was a typical opening quarter of a tournament as both teams were tentative in their approach and created few chances and circle entries. It was hardly surprising that the score was 0-0 at the end of the quarter.
The game exploded into life in the second quarter as Wales raised the tempo and won a penalty corner which Sian French unceremoniously slapped into the bottom left corner, leaving an unsighted Phumi Mbande with no chance.
South Africa Stunned and Frustrated
Supergroup South Africa were stunned and frustrated as they dominated the possession for the remainder of the half with little to show for their efforts.
What will please Robin van Ginkel and his coaching staff is the third quarter performance.
South Africa came out from the break with a renewed vigour and determination and after creating three penalty corners Lilian du Plessis fired in a superb drag flick to level the score.
Team SA Draws Level but Unable to Secure Win
South Africa with the bit between the teeth pushed for the go-ahead goal which duly arrived later in the quarter. South Africa won another penalty corner and Lisa Deetlefs slap was brilliantly diverted in by Quanita Bobbs.
What will disappoint was the team not finishing off the victory from there as they allowed Wales back into the game in a dominant quarter for the Europeans.
They levelled from a slip penalty corner variation and a Leah Wilkinson slap.
That was the last of the goal scoring as both teams repelled any last chances for their oppositions and ultimately settled for one point in their Pool B opener, sharing second spot behind Italy who beat Thailand 7-0 in the other pool game.
South African Pool B Fixtures and Results at the Poliesportiu Municipal Verge del Carme-Beteró in Valencia, Spain:
Wed 19 June: SA (du Plessis 33’, Bobbs 41’) 2-2 Wales (French 19’, Wilkinson 49’)
Thu 20 June: SA vs Italy (19:00 local time) (Match live-streamed on FIH.Live)
Sat 22 June: SA vs Thailand (11:00 local time) (Match live-streamed on FIH.Live)
Supergroup South Africa at the FIH Series Finals, from 19 – 27 June, 2019:
Erin Hunter (C) 16
Celia Evans (3)
Izelle Verster (6)
Marizen Marais (7)
Kristen Paton (8)
Robyn Johnson (9)
Kara-Lee Botes (11)
Dirkie Chamberlain (12)
Lisa-Marie Deetlefts (13)
Nomnikelo Veto (14)
Hannah Pearce (18)
Lilian du Plessis (19)
Stephanie Baxter (22)
Phumelela Mbande (GK) (24)
Quanita Bobbs (28)
Tarryn Glasby (29)
Bianca Wood (31)
Mmatshepo Modipane (GK) (32)
Photo 1 Caption: South Africa celebrate South Africa’s opening goal, a penalty corner sunk by Quanita Bobbs, or the FIH World Cup Finals in xxx, on Wedneday, 19 June, 2019. Photo: FHCV
Photo 2 Caption: A tight South African defensive effort made sure that Wales were kept to the minimum. Photo: FHCV
Photo 3 Caption: Lilian du Plessis fires in the equaliser that ensured that SA made it onto the leaderboard. Photo: FHCV
With editing by gsport