South Africa Beat Australia

by | Oct 18, 2007

Marcia Marescia, captain of South Africa, in action against Australia in the first test of the SPAR Challenge Series, which saw South Africa come back from a goal down in the first 10 minutes, to secure a ‘sweet’ 2-1 victory against one of the world’s best teams. Picture:  Reg Caldecott

Marsha Marescia, captain of South Africa, in action against Australia in the first test of the SPAR Challenge Series, which saw South Africa come back from a goal down in the first 10 minutes, to secure a ‘sweet’ 2-1 victory against one of the world’s best teams. Picture: Reg Caldecott

The SPAR South African women’s hockey team beat Australia 2-1
in the opening match of the Spar Challenge series to bag an unlikely victory at
the Randburg Sports Complex last night.


Australia were overwhelming favourites coming
in to the series and when Emily Halliday put them ahead in the sixth minute
from a short-corner, they seemed to be sticking to the script. The South
African were pushed back in defence and played much of the match in their own
half.

A moment of brilliance saw the home move forward and they
were duly awarded a short-corner for their effort. South African captain Marsha
Marescia pushed the ball out and Tarryn Hosking deflected to put the teams even
just before halftime.

The teams stayed up in the Australian half before the horn
sounded and a few passages of play from the hosts pointed to a renewal of
confidence.

South Africa, however, were all behind the ball after the
break and any hope of attacking their antipodean rivals dwindled as they were
left to defend Australia’s continued waves of attack.

Frustration grew on both sides as the clock ticked down, but
South Africa
moved the ball in to the Australian circle and got themselves a short-corner.
Marescia and her troops decided messing about in the circle was out of the
question and Sharné Bailey pounced in the 63rd minute to score the final goal
of the match.

Again, South
Africa went on the defensive, but this time
at least with a win imminent. With the huge crowd behind them, the home team
kept the Aussies out to clinch victory against a team they last beat
in 2004.
 

Renee Trost of Australia takes a dive in defence of a charging attack by South Africa’s Shelley Russell, in the first test of the SPAR Challenge Series, South Africa vs Australia. Picture: Reg Caldecott

Renee Trost of Australia takes a dive in defence of a charging attack by South Africa’s Shelley Russell, in the first test of the SPAR Challenge Series, South Africa vs Australia. Picture: Reg Caldecott

For South African coach, Jenny King, victory was sweet as it
came against one of the best teams in the world.

"When you play against a team of Australia’s
calibre, you normally go the defensive route so that’s what we did,"
said King, "This is a great bunch of players I am working with and I think
they did really well to win this one."

Australia are ranked fourth in the world with South Africa
back in 12th place, but Australian coach Frank Murray says that means very
little.

"There’s very little between the top 12 teams in the
world so the rankings can be meaningless on the day and we only beat them 1-0
at the World Cup so I’m not surprised they did so well," reckoned Murray,
"They play for each other with energy and vitality so they can take a lot
from this win."

The team play the second match at the Tshwane University of
Technology on Friday (7pm) and the final match at the Randburg Sports Complex
on Saturday (3.30pm)

 

Results of the First of Three South Africa vs Australia Women’s Hockey Tests,
played at the Randburg Hockey Stadium on Wednesday, 17th October 2007
South Africa
2-1 Australia
 
 
Australia Goal
Scorer
: Emily Halliday (6th min)
South African Goal Scorers: Taryn Hoskins (33rd min) and Sharne Bailey (63rd
min)  
 
Player of the Match: Mariette Rix (SPAR SA Goal Keeper)
 
Fixtures:
Friday, 19th October –
19h00: 2nd Test Match
Saturday, 20th October –
15h00: 3rd Test Match

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