for quality writing

Ken Borland



Who you gonna call? Candice, Candice Manuel! 0

Posted on July 16, 2017 by Ken

 

 

Candice Manuel, who scored two goals in three minutes, was the toast of South African hockey on Sunday night as she secured a thrilling 3-2 win for the national women’s side over the USA at the Wits Astro, putting the host nation into the Hockey World League quarterfinals.

Manuel, who hails from Western Province and was earning her 46th international cap, equalised in the 49th minute with a slick finish after the ball was laid back to her in the middle of the circle by Bernie Coston, who had done brilliantly to claim an overhead and then take the goalkeeper out of play.

Two minutes later, veteran Nicolene Terblanche, who put an unhappy game behind her with a dominant final-quarter performance, found Manuel with a superb defence-splitting pass, and Manuel showed her ruthless edge by blasting a reverse-sticks shot past the feet of advancing USA goalkeeper Jackie Briggs.

There were still nine minutes remaining in the match and South Africa can take enormous credit for the way they held on to their composure and their 3-2 lead under immense pressure from the sixth-ranked side in the closing stages.

“The challenge of knowing we must win really got the hearts firing and the energy was way up. This team seems to thrive on these moments, they showed great composure to come out with the win and there’s a lot of emotion now,” coach Sheldon Rostron said.

South Africa can now look forward to a quarterfinal against world number seven Germany on Tuesday and, if they can play like they did on Sunday, another upset is not beyond them.

The home side showed their intent from the outset as they dominated the first quarter, but still found themselves 1-0 down as a rapid counter-attack from halfway by the USA led to a goal by captain Melissa Gonzalez.

South Africa maintained consistent pressure on their more-fancied opposition through the second quarter and grabbed a great equaliser in the 26th minute as the indefatigable Shelley Jones (nee’ Russell) used her considerable pace to chase down a long ball, found Sulette Damons in the circle, who passed to Jade Mayne, who slotted home.

But it was all change in the third quarter as the USA turned the screw and claimed a 2-1 lead. Some slack marking saw Katelyn Ginolfi free in space and she ran into the circle and fired off a shot, which was deflected into goal by Jill Witmer.

It had been all USA in the third quarter, but the South Africans showed tremendous determination to fight back and get the vital victory.

“These moments are what we live for, to have the BMT to capitalise on our chances,” Manuel said. “We gave our all, it’s why we spend hours training. It just seems to be a South African trait that we shine in these moments. I still can’t let go of this phenomenal feeling, my head is everywhere!”

“Candice has a phenomemal ability to score goals, this is why we select her, and we brought her into play much better today in terms of our movement and the midfield service,” Rostron said.

Results: Germany 3 (Charlotte Stapenhorst, Nike Lorenz, Cecile Pieper) Japan 0; England 3 (Sarah Haycroft, Shona McCallin, Alex Danson) Ireland 2 (Nicola Daly, Kathryn Mullan); South Africa 3 (Jade Mayne, Candice Manuel 2) USA 2 (Melissa Gonzalez, Jill Witmer); Argentina 3 (Rocio Sanchez, Maria Granatto, Noel Barrionuevo) India 0.

Women’s quarterfinals: Japan v USA; South Africa v Germany; England v India; Argentina v Ireland.

Monday’s fixtures (men): 12pm Australia v Japan; 2pm Spain v New Zealand; 4pm Germany v Ireland; 6pm South Africa v Belgium.

 

 

Despite talk, Sharks put faith in tight five 0

Posted on July 28, 2015 by Ken

 

Despite all the talk about scoring tries, the Cell C Sharks will be putting their faith in the expertise of their tight five, judging by the team announced yesterday for their opening Vodacom SuperRugby match against the Toyota Cheetahs in Durban on Saturday.

Jannie and Bismarck du Plessis, Tendai Mtawarira, Mouritz Botha and Pieter-Steph du Toit will all be bringing international experience to the field and coach Gary Gold will be hoping they will be laying the most solid of foundations.

Marcell Coetzee is the senior loose forward, with Pumas import Renaldo Bothma getting a SuperRugby debut and Tera Mtembu slotting in at eighthman. Willem Alberts and lock Stephan Lewies are still out with injury.

Pat Lambie and Cobus Reinach form an outstanding halfback pairing, but Gold has a less settled combination at centre. Waylon Murray was born in Durban and schooled at Westville, but has played most of his recent rugby outside the province and he returns to the outside centre berth, with young Heimar Williams alongside him, preferred to exciting young powerhouse Andre Esterhuizen.

SP Marais will be at fullback, but perhaps the Sharks’ greatest attacking threat will be from wings Lwazi Mvovo and S’bura Sithole.

Jean Deysel is on the bench and is the only one of the Japanese-based players to make the match-day squad, with the return of Frans Steyn and JP Pietersen keenly awaited as they will give the backline the experience that is currently lacking in comparison to the tight five.

Matt Stevens, the former British Lions prop, is also on the bench, as is the veteran wing Odwa Ndungane.

The match will be refereed by the Australian, Andrew Lees, and the kick-off is at 5.05pm.

 

 



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