Ireland staged an impressive comeback after trailing South Africa Indoor Women 4-nil at halftime in the Kathea Energy Nkosi Cup opener, including two back-to-back goals in the last five minutes of the match before hosts South Africa steeled their nerves to hold on for an inspiring 5-4 win at the tournament-opening encounter tie at the Wynberg Military Base Stadium in Cape Town on Friday, 15 December, 2023.
For the first time since their historical run to a World Cup Semi-Final the Spar South Africa women were in action on their home surface with a wonderful crowd, for renewed rivalries with old friends Ireland in the opening day’s 8pm fixture.
South Africa, led out by captain Jamie Southgate, gave a debut cap to Laylaa Davids, her second senior debut in a month having also earned a cap for the outdoor team this month.
The first quarter seemed destined to be goalless, but Cailynn den Bakker snuck in front of the keeper took a step away before lifting it into the top corner just as the hooter was about to sound to end the first quarter.
South Africa doubled the lead with good work from Kayla de Waal setting up Edith Molikoe to make it 2-0.
Less than 60 seconds later South Africa were 3-0 up, thanks to Bonolo Moabi having received a good ball from Jamie Southgate. Before the half-time break it was 4-0 with Jess Lardant firing home from a penalty corner, from a slip variation off Malikah Hamza.
To their credit the Irish fought back in the second half scoring early through Mikayla Power who was the quickest to react from her own shot to push it home. Although it was the South Africans who quelled the danger and scored again from Cailynn den Bakker having already hit the post. Malikah Hamza’s shot was saved, and the rebound was powered home by Den Bakker.
Ireland scored their second before the end of the final quarter, when Laura Graham the injector snuck in front of the South African line at a penalty corner and tapped home.
The Irish set up a tremendous conclusion to the game as they pulled the gap down to 1 with two goals in the one minute. Chloe Brown popped up on the right to tap home the first and immediately a turnover saw Jenna McCarlie score on debut to make it 5-4.
South Africa would hold on and seal a win in the opener, but they were made to work incredibly hard to get the job done.
A motivated South Africa will face Namibia – their second fixture of the day – in the tour’s evening fixture on Saturday evening, with another tie against each of the touring teams following on Sunday and Monday.
Fixtures and Results at the Inaugural Kathea Energy Nkosi Cup, at the Wynberg Military Base Stadium in Cape Town, from Friday 15 to Tuesday 19 December, 2023
Fri 15 Dec, 20h00: Ireland 4-5 South Africa (MVP – Cailynn den Bakker, South Africa)
Sat 16 Dec, 12h00: Namibia v Ireland
Sat 16 Dec, 18h45: South Africa v Namibia
Sun 17 Dec, 18h30: Ireland v South Africa
Mon 18 Dev, 11h00: Namibia v Ireland
Mon 18 Dev, 18h45: South Africa v Namibia
Tue 19 Dec, 18h45: Women’s Final
1. Emma Buckley (GK)
2. Kate O’Hogan (GK)
3. Sarah Patton
4. Laura Graham
5. Mikayla Power
7. Chloe Brown
9. Orla Fox
10. Orla Patton (C)
11. Milla Fulton
12. Jenna McCharlie
13. Lily Lloyd
14. Katie Kimber
Coach: Rob Abbott
Manager: Gareth Myburgh
2. Jamie Southgate (C)
6. Daniela de Oliveira
7. Edith Molikoe
8. Cailynn den Bakker
9. Kayla de Waal
14. Tegan Fourie
15. Malikah Hamza
16. Jessica Lardant
23. Cheree Greyvenstein (GK)
25. Sarah Paget (GK)
27. Bonolo Moab
13. Laylaa Davids
Coach: AJ Spieringshoek
Manager: Tracey Flowers
Photos Caption: Cailynn den Bakker scored twice as tournament hosts South Africa held on for an inspiring 5-4 win over Ireland at the Kathea Energy Nkosi Cup tournament-opening tie at the Wynberg Military Base Stadium in Cape Town on Friday, 15 December, 2023. All Photos: Nathier Suleiman / SA Hockey Association