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Ken Borland



SA women ensure they will travel to World Cup 0

Posted on July 20, 2017 by Ken

 

 

The South African women’s hockey side made sure that they will travel to London next year for the World Cup as they beat Ireland 3-0 in the Hockey World League at Wits Astro on Thursday, ensuring that they will finish either fifth or sixth in the prestigious tournament that ends on Sunday.

Normally, the top five from the Hockey World League semi-finals gain automatic qualification for the World Cup, but because England are hosting the 2018 edition of hockey’s biggest event and they finished in the top five in Johannesburg, it has opened up another spot and sixth place will be good enough for South Africa.

South Africa dominated the first half against Ireland, but took their time in transferring that on to the scoreboard.

The opening goal eventually came in the 24th minute after three successive short-corners, with a rebound falling to Lisa-Marie Deetlefs, who lashed an excellent reverse-sticks shot into goal at the near post.

But South Africa lost focus for the next 20 minutes, giving too much ball away through poor basics or ill-judged passes, and were fortunate that Ireland did not equalise.

Just a minute before halftime, Deirdre Duke’s swerving run earned Ireland a short-corner, and although goalkeeper Phumelela Mbande made a good save, the ball deflected into Nicolene Terblanche standing in front of goal. It was touch-and-go whether the ball was going into goal or missing, with Australian umpire Aleisha Neumann wisely calling for a video review of her own decision to award a penalty stroke.

The views from in front of the action and from behind seemed to contradict each other on the path of the ball and it would have been unwise for the TV umpire to over-rule the on-field official’s call.

So Roisin Upton stepped forward to take the stroke, but sent it flying into the post and a massively relieved home side went into the break still 1-0 up.

Mbande has alternated through most of the tournament with Nicole la Fleur in goal, and the University of Pretoria graduate pulled off an excellent reflex stick-save to deny Chloe Watkins early in the second half and Watkins also threatened goal from a short-corner in the 43rd minute.

But if nothing else, this South African side has shown true character and growing composure and confidence through the tournament, and, having weathered the storm, they ended the match by dominating the final quarter.

The second goal came against the run of play, in the 50th minute, with Bernie Coston just failing to latch on to the promising ball from Sulette Damons, but she never gave up, kept fighting and then robbed the defender, made sure of at least the short-corner and then fired past the goalkeeper into the right-hand corner of the goal.

The Irish threw on a kicking back for the closing stages, and Lilian du Plessis applied the finishing touches to an impressive South African win with a lovely run from outside the 23, easily beating the kicking back when she threw herself at her feet and just pushing the ball into the goal.

“We’ve done what we wanted to do by qualifying for the World Cup and now we want to make the top-five, and to do that we’ll have to come out really hard against Japan on Saturday. There were some nerves and we did not execute 100% in the third quarter, but we pulled it back well,” coach Sheldon Rostron said.

“The team definitely showed a lot of character and I’m really pleased that we’re starting to show control during the game, we’re remaining relatively composed. The uncertain moments are becoming less and further apart and it was a very good performance tonight.”

Deetlefs, the opening goal-scorer and the mainstay of South Africa’s defence, said the home side were not surprised that they had to ride out the tough times posed by the Irish.

“It’s always very tense against Ireland, the last time we played them too, and we know they will keep playing till the last minute. So we knew they would come into the second half with all guns blazing and it was a very good defensive effort for us, man-on-man we did well.

“I saw the ball and just tried to hit it as hard as I could for the goal, so that was a great start. It takes a lot of pressure off us to get the World Cup qualification, that’s the goal we set for this tournament,” Deetlefs said.

 

Later, the sixth-ranked USA team and the seventh-ranked Germans advanced to the women’s final, to be played on Sunday.

Germany beat Argentina 2-1, although the end of the match was mired in controversy as two crucial umpiring decisions went against the South Americans, while the USA pipped England in a shootout, after the match had ended 1-1 in regulation time.

Melissa Gonzalez, the captain, scored the USA goal in the first set of five shootouts that ended 1-1 and then scored the winner in sudden-death.

Results: 9th/10th – Chile 2 (Manuela Urroz, Camila Caram) Poland 1 (Marlena Rybacha). 5th-8th – Japan 2 (Kana Nomura, Naho Ichitani) India 0; South Africa 3 (Lisa-Marie Deetlefs, Bernadette Coston, Lilian du Plessis) Ireland 0. Semi-finals – Germany 2 (Naomi Heyn, Charlotte Stapenhorst) Argentina 1 (Lucina von der Heyde); United States 1 (Jill Witmer) England 1 (Hannah Martin), USA won shootout 2-1 (Melissa Gonzalez 2 v Sarah Haycroft 1).

Friday’s fixtures (men): 10am South Africa v Japan (9th/10th); 12.15pm Egypt v New Zealand (5th-8th); 2.30pm Ireland v France (5th-8th); 4.45pm Spain v Germany (semi-final); 7pm Australia v Belgium (semi-final).

 

 

Picture looks rosy for Northerns women’s hockey 0

Posted on May 04, 2016 by Ken

 

The picture looks rosy for Northerns women’s hockey as their young side triumphed in the Senior Interprovincial Nationals at the weekend, showing impressive self-belief as they beat a star-studded, more experienced Southern Gauteng team in a shootout at the Randburg Hockey Stadium.

“We were definitely underdogs if you looked at the names on paper, Southern Gauteng are a powerhouse who have won many IPTs. But we took each game as it comes and we played very good hockey to get through the semi-finals. To beat North-West 4-0 was a very good performance and I was a bit concerned that we wouldn’t be able to reach that peak again.

“We were very nervous in the first half of the final, we showed our inexperience, but I knew if we could just keep them out then we could claw our way back. The players began to believe in themselves and put more pressure on. It was actually a blessing that we went 1-0 down because I told them ‘now we have to chase the game’.

“You can’t do all that work to get to the final and then just not play, so we began to pass the ball, be positive, and it felt like we shifted the momentum. We were winning more 50/50s, winning those one-on-one battles and we had more shots at goal,” coach Lindsay Wright told The Citizen.

“It’s very exciting and I believe it was some of the best hockey Northerns have ever played, the girls really stood up, which was wonderful. Northerns have tended to not play good hockey in the right moments, they tended to not get through semi-finals, although they were always recognised for their doggedness, their never-say-die attitude.

“We’re basically a university-based team, 90% of our players come through Tuks, so they’re all inexperienced and youthful and we rely heavily on the more experienced players. Tuks will attract more players and we have good schools, but we need to produce more locally-based players and keep them in the province, and then we will potentially build a powerhouse team,” Wright added.

Northerns are likely to lose KZN product Jacinta Jubb, their leading goalscorer, but it is certainly not doom and gloom for them. Player of the Tournament Celia Evans, in particular, is a phenomenal talent.

“Celia is one of the best players in the country right now and she is a real all-rounder, not just in terms of her hockey talent but in terms of what she gives to the team and her fellow players. She’s like Nicolene Terblanche and Kim Hubach, who have been there and done that and who constantly give to those who have less experience, which is the true sign of a very talented player,” Wright said.

Any champion side learns from their mistakes and Wright admitted that their failure to defend their title last year, when Southern Gauteng won the IPT, had been taken on board and thoroughly analysed.

Northens hockey is on the rise and the traditional powerhouses have been warned.

“The girls never gave up and their energy was fantastic. We took the lessons from last year and changed things round,” Wright said.

Bonnet opts for continuity and pace 0

Posted on May 07, 2014 by Ken

South Africa's women's hockey World Cup squad

Investec South Africa women’s hockey coach Giles Bonnet said on Tuesday that he had chosen the World Cup squad based on the need for continuity and pace.

And so the same 18-strong squad that bowed out in the semi-finals of the Champions Challenge – their only defeat of the tournament – last week will do duty at the World Cup in Holland from May 31 to June 15.

“We’re staying with continuity, although we’ve brought players in through the years, introducing eight U21 players since 2010. We’ve been exposing players for the last four years, bringing in future stars all the time, and we’ve played 150 games since the last World Cup, which was only possible because of the support and sponsorship of Investec.

“So the squad includes one triple Olympian [captain Marsha Cox (nee Marescia)], five double Olympians [goalkeeper Sanani Mangisa, Shelley Russell, Kathleen Taylor, Tarryn Bright, Lenise Marais] and seven who went to the last Olympics,” Bonnet said at the announcement of the squad at the sponsor’s headquarters in Sandton on Tuesday.

The squad includes 13 players with more than a hundred caps, while only goalkeeper Anelle van Deventer (10) has less than 50 appearances for South Africa.

Pietie Coetzee, arguably South Africa’s greatest women’s hockey player, is the glaring omission from the squad, but Bonnet said she had made herself unavailable, along with the injured Jade Mayne, because she did not feel physically up to the tournament.

“Pietie doesn’t feel in shape to play in the World Cup, which basically involves running 10km every game and that has a major impact on the body. Hockey these days is about speed and endurance. We have very quick players in this squad,” Bonnet said.

Endurance is epitomised by captain Cox, for whom international hockey must be like a drug as she looks to add to her 332 caps in Holland.

“The Champions Challenge was successful, getting bronze and laying a good platform for the World Cup. We were extremely disappointed after losing in a semi-final to Ireland that we dominated, but stats don’t win you games.

“But sometimes you need to fail before you succeed and we’ve gained confidence from all the chances we created in that tournament [a tournament-leading 60 in six games]. Realistically we’re aiming to finish in the top eight in the World Cup and, with the style of hockey we’re currently playing and all the experience in the squad, that’s in reach,” Cox said.

Waiting for South Africa, however, are three of the tournament favourites in their first three games – Argentina, Germany and England – and Bonnet is hoping to get a draw from one of those powerhouses before taking full points off China and the USA.

“It will be difficult. You want to go into a World Cup with confidence and build your way into the tournament, but hopefully we can make that middle pool,” the vastly experienced Bonnet said.

Mangisa said she was confident the team would make a good start to the tournament, whatever the opposition.

“We know all the games will be tough because, along with the Olympics, this is the pinnacle of hockey. We’ve learnt from the London Olympics and we won’t repeat that bad start. We have to start well and we’ve grown a lot in the last two years. With all these caps, we can’t have a repeat … we’ll think ‘hang on there, we’ve been here before’ and tighten up. Unlike Liverpool last night,” Mangisa said.

Squad (caps in brackets): Sanani Mangisa (92), Ilse Davids (122), Marsha Cox (332), Shelley Russell (212), Dirkie Chamberlain (168), Lisa Deetleefs (187), Nicolene Terblanche (145), Kathleen Taylor (214), Tarryn Bright (263), Sulette Damons (149), Lenise Marais (228), Bernie Coston (94), Anelle van Deventer (10), Marcelle Manson (nee Keet, 133), Kelly Madsen (113), Celia Evans (89), Lillian du Plessis (58), Quanita Bobbs (56).

 



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