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The SPAR South Africa squad to play in a historic series against Botswana and Zimbabwe has today been announced. The series will be Botswana’s first venture into International Indoor Hockey and aligns with South Africa’s continued development of the game in Southern Africa.

SPAR South Africa will play 2 test matches against Botswana and 5 against Zimbabwe at Danville Park Girls School, the unofficial home of SPAR South Africa. While development is a key focus for the South African management team, an eye will be slowly glancing towards the World Cup Qualifying that will take place in 2020.

Convenor of selectors Greg White was happy with the depth of talent available at the Indoor IPT in Pietermaritzburg, offering the selectors a superb challenge:

“We had 14 teams playing in Pietermaritzburg, the most ever and it led to some great discussion in the selections. There are a few players coming back from injury or unavailability and we are excited to see how the team gels together. The depth of players is improving, and we are in a really good position!”

From the side that took part in the record-breaking European Tour Zimi Shange, Cheree Greyvenstein, Jessica O’Connor, Tegan Fourie, Jamie Southgate, Amy Greaves and Edith Molikoe retain their places. Cindy Hack will also continue to lead the team.

Celia Evans and Kara Botes, who both were part of the victorious Croatian Cup adventure in 2018, are both recalled, while Alex Kavanagh and Robyn Johnson will get to add to their caps after highly impressive IPT performances.

The management team will feature the same three that led the team to Europe. Lennie Botha will lead the team for the 80th time in the first test and will be joined by Robyn Morgan as Team Manager and Brighty Mashaba as the Video Analyst. Botha will also be formally be joined by assistant coach AJ Spieringshoek for his first official cap for SPAR South Africa.

TEST SERIES SCHEDULE

Wednesday 28 May 2019 – 10:00 – South Africa vs. Zimbabwe
Wednesday 28 May 2019 – 18:00 – South Africa vs. Zimbabwe
Thursday 30 May 2019 – 10:00 – South Africa vs. Botswana
Thursday 30 May 2019 – 18:00 – South Africa vs. Zimbabwe
Friday 31 May 2019 – 10:00 – South Africa vs. Botswana
Friday 31 May 2019 – 18:00 – South Africa vs. Zimbabwe
Saturday 1 June 2019 – 17:00 – South Africa vs. Zimbabwe

SPAR SOUTH AFRICA TEST SQUAD

NO

PLAYER

PROVINCE

 

1

Kara Botes

Southern Gauteng

 

2

Celia Evans

Northern Blues

 

3

Tegan Fourie

SPAR KZN Raiders

 

4

Amy Greaves

KZN Inland

 

5

Cheree Greyvenstein (GK)

SPAR KZN Raiders

 

6

Cindy Hack (c)

SPAR KZN Raiders

 

7

Robyn Johnson

Southern Gauteng

 

8

Alexandra Kavanagh

Southern Gauteng

 

9

Edith Molikoe

KZN Inland

 

10

Jessica O’Connor

SPAR KZN Raiders

 

11

Zimi Shange

SPAR KZN Raiders

 

12

Jamie Southgate

Western Province

 

TEAM MANAGEMENT

Coach

Lennie Botha

   

Assistant Coach

AJ Spieringshoek

   

Video

Brighty Mashaba

   

Manager

Robyn Morgan

   

 

The quarter finals of the Women’s Indoor Hockey IPT A Section have been completed and the top 4 for 2019 are known. On Saturday morning they will contest the semi-finals before the final is played on Saturday night. Here is what went down in the quarter-finals.

SPAR KZN Raiders 8-0 WP Peninsula

It was routine stuff for the 8-time defending champions as they dismissed the WP Pens challenge easily. Led by Kelly Reed in the absence of injured Cindy Hack, the Raiders stormed into a half time lead of 5-0 through Jodie Oakes, Jess Lardant, Karin Bowyer, Kelly Reed and Cailynn den Bakker. Calvin Price’s side then produced a solid second half which saw them comfortably see out the game. Kelly Reed, Jess Lardant and Jess O’Connor all netted in the second half. The SPAR KZN Raiders will take some incredible effort to beat.

KZN Inlands (2) 1-1 (1) Northern Blues

In the pick of the matches the hosts were expected to run out victors in a tough battle but found themselves chasing the game when Celia Evans put the fantastic Northern Blues ahead. They found themselves level through Rachel Barnard before half-time but neither team could take their opportunities in a thrilling encounter, which meant shootouts would decide the winner. To the delight of the home crowd it was Inlands who succeeded thanks to Edith Molikoe’s winning goal.

Western Province 5-0 Mpumalanga

It was a far tougher in the first half than Western Province had expected as they took on Mpumalanga. The game was scrappy, and the Province ladies failed to hold onto significant periods of possession but found the 1-0 half-time lead through Sasha Sivertsen. Although they got the second through Nidia Vermeulen they were constantly frustrated by the superb Charlize Swanepoel. Eventually the would make it a comfortable win with a trio of goals from Kayla de Waal (2) & Ammaarah Hendricks.

Southern Gauteng 4-2 KZN Mynahs

Southern Gauteng made sure they had a chance to try and improve on last years silver medal thanks largely to a fine first half display. Lilian du Plessis scored the first after great determination by Kara Botes to win the ball. They would add another three before half-time with the impressive Cloe de Souza getting two of them. Southerns did take their foot off the gas in the second half and that ultimately saw them allow the Mynahs back into the game, probably something they will look to improve on in the semi-finals. Mynahs two goals came through Kerry Gaze giving them a glimmer of hope, but it was not to be.

Women’s Indoor IPT A Section – Semi-Final Fixtures

12:00 at St. Johns – SPAR KZN Raiders vs. KZN Inland
14:00 at St. Johns – Western Provinces vs. Southern Gauteng

FINAL – 19:00 at St. Johns

It was a day of celebration for the SPAR South Africa indoor hockey team as their tour to Europe came to a resoundingly successful end. In the fourth test South Africa knew that only a victory would save the series after trailing 2-1 from the opening games. For the 16th ranked nation, it was a massive feather in the cap to be at this point against the 5th ranked team in the world.

The fourth test also saw the fourth South African join the 50-cap club. Amy Greaves, from KZN Inland, was presented with a small commemorative trophy from Lennie Botha as she raised her stick on an incredible achievement. It was a moment to be immensely proud of for a superb servant of the game of indoor hockey in South Africa.

The celebration from the award appeared to almost distract the South Africans as the Czech’s emerged with vengeance in the opening 8 minutes creating chances and having a lot of possession. The South Africans however stood up to be counted and produced a mesmerising defensive display to keep the scores level.

They then produced a Lennie Botha classic as they knocked away three goals in two minutes to take a 3-0 lead. Tegan Fourie netted a stroke before Cindy Hack and then Fourie again made it three. There was time for another display of brilliance as Cindy Hack finished off a brilliant team goal to make it a 4-0 half-time lead.

If the hosts expected the South Africans to back off they were sorely surprised as the Africans continued to move the ball around with almost disregard for the opposition and made it 5 through Edith Molikoe, six through Jess Lardant (The only penalty corner goal of the game) and seven through Lilian du Plessis.

A final score of 7-0 to the SPAR South African ladies was nothing short of what they deserved. In the past 18 months the team have produced some memorable and historic moments winning the Croatia Cup, winning a record 22-0 against Slovenia, beating the African Champions Namibia 3-0 and of course beating the Swiss 3-1 in Switzerland. All things considered, this result was nothing short of the highlight on a sensational 13 months.

We can’t wait to see where they go from here!

The SPAR South Africa indoor hockey ladies produced a dogged display to win the second test against fifth ranked Czech Republic, before losing the third test to trail 2-1 in the series with one game to go.

Having rested after their tormenting travel day the SA ladies looked fantastic in a highly combative win in the morning test. Having led 3-0 at half time through a Tegan Fourie double either side of an Amy Greaves strike. It was as good a half of indoor hockey as the South Africans had played in the European tour so far.

The second half saw the hosts spark a comeback through Nikol Babicka, but any sparks were quickly extinguished by the South African defence time and time again. With four minutes remaining Lilian du Plessis settled the game with a good finish to give South Africa a 4-1 win.

Although the tour had been historic already, the South Africans managed to raise the bar once again as their victory marked the highest ranked team they have ever beaten. Its testament to the fantastic work done by this team and for this team.

The South Africans were unable to follow it up with an afternoon victory facing a controversial few decisions that seemed to check their progress at every opportunity. Having led 1-0 through Kelly Reed and 2-1 through Jess Lardant, South Africa were disappointed to enter the break all square.

The second half saw the hosts up the physicality and emerge unscathed from the umpires. To their credit the South African ladies refused to let the umpires derail them but ultimately fell to two late goals to lose the match 4-2. They trail the series with one game to play, with a previously highly unlikely possibility of emerging undefeated from the series.

SPAR South Africa endured a 16-hour transit from Switzerland to the Czech Republic for the second part of their European Tour. The trip, which was hastily changed due to an avalanche, saw the team take five busses and two trains on their trip to Prague. Having arrived in the morning on Monday, they faced the fifth ranked Czech Republic in the first of four test matches in Prague.

The opening test was started with Kelly Reed receiving her 50th cap, joining both Jess O’Connor and Cindy Hack in the 50-cap club. It’s a testament to the work done by Lennie Botha and the superb sponsorship by SPAR that the indoor hockey ladies have had a world class program developed for them.

The hosts were the favourites and lived up to that billing in the first half opening a two-goal lead through Lucie Duchkova and Natalie Hajkova. They extended the lead in the second half when Nikol Babicka made it 3-0. The SPAR South African ladies were quite tired but created good chances themselves with Cindy Hack hitting the post twice and Tegan Fourie missing the kind of chance she buries regularly. They did get the consolation goal for the visitors through the impressive Jess Lardant who finished from a fantastic flick at penalty corner time.

So, with 1 game down in the series, the South Africans will look to rest well and return to the action with two tests on Tuesday. They would love to secure a victory that would ultimately be the ultimate feather in the cap of a superb tour!

We will be keeping you updated right here!

For the first time in South African indoor hockey history, a South African side has won a series against a top 10 nation. Not only did the SPAR South African ladies do the aforementioned, but they did it in style winning the five-match series 3-1 away from home. For coach Lennie Botha it was a feather in the cap to the hard work he has done in creating a brand of indoor hockey that the country could be proud of. To the entire SPAR South Africa Women’s Indoor Hockey team, your country is proud.

South Africa led the series 2-0 at the half way stage and managed to secure the historic series win in the fourth test with arguably their best display of the series so far. A very physical first half saw a rotated Swiss side through what they could at the South Africans, but their resolute character shone through and they started to dictate the pace of the game. They got the only goal of the first half when Tegan Fourie netted to make it 1-0. It was Fourie’s 17th International goal in only her 18th cap for South Africa.

Lilian du Plessis is no stranger to South African Hockey or goal scoring having netted numerous times in her 119 outdoor caps, but here she was playing in only her 9th Indoor cap for SA and made the score 2-0 with another field goal. Amy Greaves then made it three playing in her 46th indoor hockey game for South Africa. The nature of the goals flying in from quick team play is something that Botha and his video analyst Bright Mashaba would have been delighted about. South Africa added a fourth through their skipper Cindy Hack and although they let in a late consolation goal to Sofie Stomps, the African side knew they had historically won the series and extended their test unbeaten run to 29 matches.

It is always challenging to get yourself up for another game a few hours after the emotional victory in the morning game and Switzerland produced their best display against the tired South Africans in the final test. The Swiss had been fantastic hosts and gave their home crowd some joy in the final game.

Janice Thoma and Alexandra Walti gave them a 2-goal lead before Kelly Reed pulled one back for South Africa. Sofie Stomps, the top scorer for the Swiss throughout the tournament got 2 more as the hosts finally got the win they were looking for and ending South Africa’s long unbeaten run in test matches.

The result meant that the South African side, ranked 16th in the world, were series winners against the hosts ranked 7th.

South Africa travelled to Prague today where they will play the Czech Republic, ranked 5th in the world, in 2 test matches before returning home. Regardless of the result in those matches, they will return home as heroes.

It was a tough day for SPAR South Africa both physically and emotionally, but as this team has proven time and time again, that is when they show their best side. Today was the day that the former South African player Brenda Bartlett was remembered after her long fight with cancer. For South African captain Cindy Hack, it was extra emotional as the two played together at the 2007 Indoor Hockey World Cup and were fond friends.

The South African ladies wore black ribbons on their socks to play in honour of the late Bartlett and found themselves under early attack. The Switzerland side featured a few changes from the opening test match and the renewed energy provided a massive test for the South Africans with Julia Intelmann converting the early pressure.

The hosts, who were stunned in the opening game, looked up for the game but SPAR South Africa were given an early lifeline when they won a stroke. Tegan Fourie dispatched it convincingly to restore parity in a fierce contest. With the clock ticking to half-time it was the visitors who took the opportunity and netted a fine go-ahead goal through 18-year-old sensation Edith Molikoe. The youngster had a fantastic first test and the goal was a just reward for her displays.

In the second half captain Cindy Hack extended the lead to 3-1 with her 3rd of the series, which drew obvious emotion from the inspiring leader. Switzerland set up an incredible finish win they scored in the 35th minute through Sofie Stomps. Although they threw everything at it, the hosts were unable to breach the South African defence and suffered a second surprise defeat.

2nd Test Match – 11 January 2019 – Switzerland 2-3 SPAR South Africa

As is the nature of indoor hockey there was not much time to wait for the third test, in fact just about 7 hours. The two teams had produced a fantastic and entertaining test match in the morning and although Switzerland rang the changes again, it was more of the same for the crowd in attendance.

It was South Africa who got the perfect start to the game with a superb Jessica O’Connor flick from the penalty corner. Although coach Lennie Botha was delighted with that early goal, that delight did not last long as Elena Trosch levelled in the 10th minute. Hasana El Allaly then sent the home crowd into raptures as the hosts gained the lead. It looked like it was a lead that would last until half-time, but after the hooter Jess Lardant scored from the penalty corner to completely tear up the respective coaches’ notes.

As has become customary in this series, the first goal of the second half was struck by legendary captain Cindy Hack, her fourth of the series, putting SPAR South Africa into the lead. A defensive masterclass looked like it had done enough to seal the series for South Africa, but a last second penalty corner was converted by Janice Thoma to share the game. A pulsating 3-3 draw that extended South Africa’s unbeaten test match run to 28 games and importantly meaning they cannot lose the series with two matches remaining. It’s nothing short of spectacular for the world’s 16th ranked side against the World number 7.

3rd Test Match – 11 January 2019 – Switzerland 3-3 SPAR South Africa

SPAR South Africa arrived in Switzerland on the back of an unbeaten 25 match test run. Of course, it has been a tough journey for the team after missing out on the FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup. They can only be credited for their response, working hard and focusing on building towards future goals.

This tour to Switzerland and Czech Republic would be SPAR South Africa’s biggest test so far. A year ago, at the FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup, Switzerland produced an outstanding display to finish 5th. The highlight of their run was a brilliant victory against Poland, who were ranked 4th at the time. The run also saw Switzerland reach an all-time high ranking of 7th in the World. To top it off South Africa had never beaten a top 10 ranked country outside of South Africa and never beaten a team ranked higher than 8th in the World. It was set to be a titanic tussle.

Switzerland featured four of the Indoor World Cup team in the opening game against a South African side seeing Andrea Leader earn her first cap and Cindy Hack her 73rd. It was South Africa who struck first through a penalty corner from Jessica O’Connor in the 12th minute. A hallmark of Lennie Botha’s side has been their ability to hit two quick goals back-to-back. This characteristic took centre stage once again when Jess Lardant made it 2-0 in the 13th from another penalty corner.

Cindy Hack, playing arguably the best hockey of her career, and leading from the front converted a goal from open play to give South Africa a 3-goal lead at the break. If the hosts were expecting the South Africans to back off they were in for a surprise as the South Africans burst forward and extended the lead through Hack once again finishing off a team move to make it 4-0.

Switzerland then gave themselves a glimmer of hope when Carina Zimmerman, playing in her third test match, pulled a goal back for the hosts. But any hope of a fight back was doused by a stellar defensive performance by the South Africans and crowned by Jess O’Connor, who opened the scoring, netting the game’s final goal in the 36th minute.

Cindy Hack said after the game:

“It was a superb effort from my team. We really executed the game plan well and kept up our concentration in the key moments.”

The result gave SPAR South Africa a fantastic 1-0 lead in the five-match series and will give the team great hope on securing a series victory, which would have been a hopeful goal before the tour got underway.

The wait for hockey action in 2019 is only a week old and its over already. SPAR South Africa Indoor Hockey are in Switzerland for a five-match series before moving to Czech Republic for another series. The two series will be a great opportunity for the South Africans to see how far they have come over the past couple of years taking on teams ranked 7th and 5th respectively.  South Africa are ranked in 16th.

2018 was a great year for the SPAR South Africa side as they won 13 of the 15 test matches they took part in, drawing the other two. In that time, they won the Croatia Cup, breaking a Record for the biggest victory in a 21-0 victory over Slovenia. They also defeated Zimbabwe 5-0 in the first ever indoor hockey series hosted in Zimbabwe, while triumphing 3-0 over African Champions Namibia.

SPAR South Africa completed the year taking part in a four match exhibition series against a World All-Stars at the Psi Nationals that saw them draw the opening game and lose the other three in highly competitive matches. The series allowed coach Lennie Botha and his team to prepare for the European Tour in front of capacity crowds, something all teams love to experience.

Switzerland prepared for the series with a two-match series against Belgium which they lost 1-0, losing the first game 4-3 and drawing the second 2-2. South Africa will have to be aware of captain Stephanie Walti who is a massive goal scoring threat, while Flurina Walti is a superb keeper.

SPAR South Africa themselves have some lethal talent in their line up and in the trio of Kelly Reed, skipper Cindy Hack and Edith Molikoe they have a superb fluid attack. Tegan Fourie has recovered from the injury she suffered in the final Psi game, while Jess O’Connor is at her best in the toughest games. South Africa can also look to Cheree Greyvenstein who has developed immensely as a keeper over the past twelve months and is in the form of her life.

Switzerland vs. SPAR South Africa Test Series

1st Test – 10 January 2019 – 21:00
2nd Test – 11 January 2019 – 15:00
3rd Test – 11 January 2019 – 21:30
4th Test – 12 January 2019 – 16:00
5th Test – 12 January 2019 – 21:30

 SPAR South Africa

No

Name

Province

Caps

1

Amy Greaves

KZN Inland

42

2

Andrea Leader

Western Province

0

3

Cheree Greyvenstein (GK)

SPAR KZN Raiders

17

4

Cindy Hack (C)

SPAR KZN Raiders

72

5

Edith Molikoe

KZN Inland

10

6

Jamie Southgate

Western Province

15

7

Jess Lardant

SPAR KZN Raiders

5

8

Jessica O’Connor

SPAR KZN Raiders

70

9

Kelly Reed

SPAR KZN Raiders

44

10

Lilian du Plessis

Southern Gauteng

5

11

Tegan Fourie

SPAR KZN Raiders

14

12

Zimi Shange (GK)

SPAR KZN Raiders

8

Team Staff

Lennie Botha (Head Coach)

SPAR KZN Raiders

70*

Bright Mashaba (Video Analyst)

Mpumalanga

30

Robyn Morgan (Manager)

Western Province

14

 

*Caps only for SA Indoor Women, excludes caps as SA Mens Indoor Coach

The final game of the Psi Exhibition series was played in front of another capacity crowd at UCT Sports Centre. SPAR South Africa were using the series to prepare for their upcoming test series against world number 5 Czech Republic and world number 7 Switzerland. For the coaching staff featuring Lennie Botha, Robyn Morgan, Brighty Mashaba and AJ Spieringshoek, they will be largely satisfied with the progress the team has made in a thrilling series.

The match started with a bit of a scary incident as Tegan Fourie took a bad knock to the eye and the game was stopped for a few minutes for her to receive treatment. Fourie was taken to hospital and received the news that she would be okay for the European tour. That scare seemed to set a bit of a surreal environment at the arena, but the game sprung to life just before half-time when Lena Lindstrom finished a team move to give the All-Stars the lead.

SPAR South Africa surged forward though and got the goal through a superbly worked penalty corner as Cindy Hack set up Kelly Reed for the finish. It was a goal that was fully deserving and a half-time score of 1-1 was a fair score line based on the match seen so far.

The second half followed the same tactical route with both teams reducing opportunities and space to a minimum. When called upon Alexander Heerbaart and Cheree Greyvenstein were in superb form to keep the scores level. The All-Stars finally took the lead with a trademark powerful flick from Marlena Rybacha.

SPAR South Africa once again surged forward and thought they had levelled as an infringement in their D was allowed to play on and then they went up the other end and Kelly Reed scored past on onrushing Heerbaart. The decision left the crowd disappointed as a short corner was awarded to the International All-Stars and Rybacha smashed it home. 3-1 the final score.

After the game Jessica O’Connor the vice-captain of SPAR South Africa was full of praise for Pro Series Indoor and the teams development:

“It is unbelievable what Pro Series Indoor is doing for the country and for the development of the game of indoor hockey. We hadn’t played together as a team too much when we got here, and we quickly learnt to fight for each other and grow as a team. I am excited for the tour to Europe in January. We are a team that plays with full hearts and that’s what really matters!”

Psi Exhibition Series – Game 4

South Africa 1 (Kelly Reed)
International All-Stars 3 (Marlena Rybacha [2] & Lena Lindstrom)

Photo - 

The South African Womens team vs The All Star International Womens Team match held as part of the PSI 2018 Nationals U16 & U18 played at UCT Sports Centre on 19th December 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa. Photo by Shaun Roy

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