The South Africa U21 women’s hockey team secured a critical draw in their opening Junior World Cup match 3-3 with a China, thanks to a last-minute goal by Western Province’s Quanita Bobbs at Mönchengladbach’s Hockey Park in Germany Saturday morning (Scroll down for fixtures and results, team list and pools, click here for the tournament preview).
The International Hockey Federation (FIH) reports that the Chinese were the dominant side in the first half, but SA beat expectations to come back from a 2-0 half-time deficit – and a 3-1 deficit with 19 minutes left, with Bobbs’s last-minute goal securing the one point for SA.
Argentina, silver medallists to The Netherlands at the 2009 JWC in Boston, Massachusetts in the USA, won the other Pool B match 4-0 against fellow Pan American region country Canada.
The top two teams in the four-team Pool B will go through to Thursday’s quarter-finals.
In SA’s match, China won two penalty corners early in the match, while their biggest scoring opportunity came in the 23rd minute when Liu Yuyue’s attempt hit the post. However, Sun Jing eventually took the lead for China a few seconds later.
South Africa created a promising scoring opportunity towards the end of the first half when Jacinta Jubb won her team’s first penalty corner. The drag-flick was well taken but China’s goalkeeper Ye Jiao saved the ball with her glove.
Three minutes before half-time Lui Meng beat several defenders – and SA goalkeeper Phume Mbande – to double the Chinese lead.
Pushed forward by their fans, South Africa had a powerful start in the second half with captain Izelle Lategan bringing her team onto the scoreboard. Afterwards the African champions were close to equalising but the Chinese defence stood strong.
Suddenly, it was China scoring against the run of play. Zhang Jinrong converted a penalty corner in the 51st minute to secure a 3-1 lead.
However, South Africa struck back again when Suléke Brand scored from a penalty corner variation. The equaliser came from another penalty corner, awarded in the last minute of the match. Bobbs smashed the ball into the goals for the 3-3 final score, much to the delight of the South African camp.
South Africa play further Pool B matches Sunday at 10 am (SA time) against Argentina before their last Pool B clash next Tuesday, July 30 against Canada at 2 pm (SA time).
The 16 teams, who are in four Pools of four, then go into the cross-pool playoffs next Thursday, which include the quarter-finals, before next Friday’s top-eight playoffs that include the semi-finals. Next Saturday’s matches feature the bottom-eight teams in playoffs before next Sunday’s final classification matches for the 16 teams. Sunday’s fare also includes the gold and bronze medal matches.
South Africa Pool B Fixtures and results, at the FIH Ergo Hockey Junior World Cup: 27 Jul: South Africa 3-3 China 28 Jul 10:00am: Argentina vs South Africa 30 Jul 2:30pm: Canada vs South Africa SA U21 Junior World Cup Team at the 2013 Junior World Cup in Mönchengladbach, Germany, from 27 July to 4 August, 2013: Bronwyn Kretzmann (Western Province) Erin Hunter (Western Province) Nicole la Fleur (Western Province) Quanita Bobbs (Western Province) Sherry King (Western Province) Suléke Brand (Western Province) Taryn Mallett (Western Province) (vice-capt) Tarryn Glasby (Western Province) Izelle Lategan (Free State) (capt) Liné Malan (Free State) Tanya Britz (Free State) Nicole Walraven (Free State) Jacinta Jubb (Northern Blues) Lilian du Plessis (Northern Blues) Phume Mbande (Northern Blues) Tiffany Jones (North West) Toni Marx (Eastern Province) Nika Nel (Southern Gauteng) FIH Ergo Hockey Junior World Cup Pools: Pool A: Ghana; Korea; the Netherlands; USA Pool B: Argentina; Canada; China; South Africa Pool C: Australia; India; New Zealand; Russia Pool D: Belgium; England; Spain; Germany
(With editing by gsport)