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An expectant crowd at UCT awaited the SPAR South Africa and PSI International All-Stars for the second match of the four-match series. The two sides had played out a scintillating opening fixture that ended 3-3 and set the scene for an exciting second match.

The South African Womens team vs The All Star International Womens Team match held as part of the PSI 2018 Nationals matches played at UCT Sports Centre on 15th December 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa Photo - Andrew Swarts

The South African Womens team vs The All Star International Womens Team match held as part of the PSI 2018 Nationals matches played at UCT Sports Centre on 15th December 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa
Photo - Andrew Swarts

SPAR South Africa appeared buoyed by the crowd and the opening match performance. They started the game slightly better with Kelly Reed and Cindy Hack both firing wide after fantastic work to create some goal opportunities. South Africa looked to be turning the screw and then found themselves frustratingly trailing. Irelands Alli Meeke, who won a silver medal in the FIH Hockey World Cup, earlier this year finished off a half chance to give the International All-Stars the early lead.

South Africa surged forward quicker than teenagers for cell phone chargers, and Cindy Hack was denied by a super save by Alex Heerbaart to keep the lead. The second goal of the game looked like it would be a pivotal one and it eventually came when Marlena Rybacha made it 2-0 with an unstoppable penalty corner flick. The goal was a winding punch to the stomach and it got worse for South Africa when Lena Lindstroom celebrated her birthday with a field goal from the right-hand side

In the second half Rybacha would add her second before Kiana Cormack, the Namibian, scored the International All-Stars fifth goal of the match. The game lost its edge a bit in the last few minutes as both sides tried something different. South Africa pulled off their keeper, but even with the extra player could not break down the opposition defence.
Kiki van Wijk and Janne Muller-Wieland were once again superlative in their displays producing several interceptions, tackles and key passes throughout the match.

After the game birthday girl Lena Lindstroom shared her thoughts: “It feels amazing to get a goal on my birthday! Psi is unbelievable, I have never played in a set up like this and it is so much fun! Thank you for the support and all the cheers!”

South African captain Cindy Hack was full of praise for Pro Series Indoor.

“The atmosphere is absolutely incredible. The opportunities created for kids is amazing, I mean we have seven players in our team that have come through Psi. It shows the youngsters the importance of dreaming big and chasing those dreams. In terms of the hockey we are using this series to prepare for the tour to Switzerland and it’s imperative that we use it to work on our structures and plans so that we go and cause a few upsets in Europe!”

The South African Womens team vs The All Star International Womens Team match held as part of the PSI 2018 Nationals matches played at UCT Sports Centre on 15th December 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa. 
Photo by Shaun Roy

Psi Exhibition Series – Game 2
South Africa 0
International All-Stars 5 (Lena Lindstrom, Alli Meeke, Marlena Rybacha [2] & Kiana Cormack)

The remaining matches of the series all take place at UCT Sports Centre at 18:30 on the 18th and 19th December.

SPAR South Africa Indoor Hockey Ladies arrived at the Pro Series Indoor Nationals on the back of a superb 2018 that saw them win 13 of the 15 test matches they have played, without tasting defeat. They were expected to see that run end when they took on a star studded International All-Stars at UCT in the first of a four match exhibition series. They had other plans.

Although the matches do not have official test match status, Lennie Botha was keen for his team to continue the momentum built up over the year ahead of tours to Switzerland and Czech Republic in January. The meticulous coach, who recently achieved his 50th indoor hockey test victory in charge of SPAR South Africa, will be thrilled by what he saw in front of a capacity crowd at UCT Sports Hall.

Dutch striker Kiki van Wijk, a Kampong star and a driving force for Netherlands at the Indoor Hockey World Cup, opened the scoring for the International All-Stars but the SPAR South African ladies fought back immediately and after Alex Heerbaart twice denied Edith Molikoe she was helpless to stop a superb flowing move by South Africa that Tegan Fourie finished superbly.

Almost immediately there was a controversial penalty stroke awarded to the International All-Stars and 17-year-old Namibian Kiana Cormack, the top scorer at the 2018 Indoor Hockey World Cup, made certain from the spot. The International All-Stars had the momentum, but their sails were not just taken down they were torn apart when Cheree Greyvenstein pulled off a save that defied the inevitability of a goalbound effort and led to a goal for South Africa. It’s very difficult to describe the save here, but it was as good as the most sensational goals as Greyvenstein grabbed the ball from behind her, on the line, before creating a counter attack with the distribution. Kelly Reed, returning to the team for the first time since the victorious Croatia Cup was on the end of the equalizer after a superb combination with Cindy Hack and Lilian du Plessis.

The half-time break was welcome for both sides as the pace of the game had been fantastic and the crowd of approximately 2000 were treated to some scintillating hockey.

South Africa started the second half with the same intensity and relied on Greyvenstein for the few times the International All-Stars managed to get past. Greyvenstein was up to the task making three fantastic saves of differing quality to deny Janne Muller-Wieland, Alli Meeke and Kiana Cormack. She was helpless to stop Polish captain Marlena Rybacha who made it 3-2 from a penalty corner eight minutes into the second half.

Once again SPAR South Africa refused to accept that and surged forward with Kelly Reed netting a second with the quickest reaction after Heerbaart had denied Tegan Fourie. In the final five minutes the South Africans looked fitter and stronger and thought they had the game won with a last-minute goal that was disallowed and a final second penalty stroke that was overruled. The game ended 3-3 in a fantastic display of hockey and an exceptional advert for the game of indoor hockey.

The teams played out a shootout to decide the winner for the crowd which Alli Meeke settled with a superb finish, to win the showdowns. For the crowd gathered if this was the starter, the main course and dessert will be even better.

After the game International All-Stars skipper Janne Muller-Wieland shared her thoughts: “I knew there would be a good atmosphere, but it was almost like being at the World Cup final all over again. I thought the South Africans played well, it was a close game, but I think the hockey will be even better over the coming days! I can’t wait to get back on the court again!”

While South African hero Cheree Greyvenstein was extremely excited after the game: “It’s a dream come true playing for my country in front of a crowd like this, it’s something I dreamt about as a youngster and here I am doing it. I enjoyed my goal line save the most on the night, but mostly I am so proud of my team. We played incredibly well and I’m super excited for the rest of the series!”

Psi Exhibition Series – Game 1

South Africa 3 (Kelly Reed [2] & Tegan Fourie)
International All-Stars 3 (Kiki van Wijk, Marlena Rybacha & Kiana Cormack)

The remaining matches of the series all take place at UCT Sports Centre at 18:30 on the 15th, 18th and 19th December.

Picture - South African Women's Indoor Hockey Team (Facebook)

The South African Hockey Association today announces the SPAR South Africa Indoor Hockey squad for the upcoming series against the Pro Series Indoor World All-Stars in Cape Town in December. The same squad will also take part in two test series in Europe in January.

The All-Star series in December will feature a collection of the best players in the world from Germany, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Namibia and Zimbabwe. It offers the SPAR South Africa team another opportunity to gauge the progress on their development.

In the recent test series against African champions Namibia, SPAR South Africa were victorious 3-0, stretching an impressive undefeated run to 25 test matches. Victory in the fourth test was also the 50th test victory for Lennie Botha as coach in just his 70th match as national coach, incredibly only tasting defeat on 12 occasions. Botha himself will be excited by the opportunity of taking on the best in the world.

Cindy Hack, the most capped South African indoor hockey player, will once again be tasked to lead the team. She will be joined by fellow experienced star Jessica O’Connor, player of the tournament at the recent IPT in Cape Town. In goals the duo of Cheree Greyvenstein and Zimi Shange will continue to share the responsibility as they have done fantastically well over the past two test series.

Edith Molikoe, who debuted against Zimbabwe in August, and Jessica Lardant, who debuted against Namibia in October, both hold on to their spots, while Tegan Fourie and Jamie Southgate both are recalled after missing the Namibian series. Lilian du Plessis, who has more than 100 caps for South Africa in outdoor hockey, will look to embed herself further in the team after playing her first series against Namibia.

With a host of youngsters in the squad the experience of Kelly Reed, playing in her first series since the victorious Croatian Cup, and Amy Greaves will be vital in embedding the new players into the culture of the team. There is also a well-deserved call up for Andrea Leader. The Western Province star was fantastic in the IPT and impressed the selectors enough to get her debut cap.

Coach Lennie Botha shared his thoughts on the squad: “We are in a process of exposing more players to international indoor hockey to build up our experience and depth. We have had a great year so far, but we know the All-Stars will be a fantastic test of how far we have developed as a squad. We are looking forward to playing at Psi in front of all the kids and passionate indoor hockey fans!”

SPAR South Africa will take on the World All-Stars in a four-match series in December. The matches will all be at UCT at 18:30 on the 14th, 15th, 18th and 19th of December.

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 (Coach)
Brighty Mashaba (Video Analyst)
Robyn Morgan (Manager)

The SPAR South Africa Indoor Hockey Women’s have defeated African Champions Namibia 3-0 in a tough five match test series played at Danville Park Girls School in Durban North. The series was set-up brilliantly as it was the first time the two teams were meeting since the momentous African Cup final that ended 3-3 and was decided on showdowns. Since that match Namibia went to the Indoor Hockey World Cup placing a credible but also disappointing 9th, while SPAR South Africa went on a 15 match winning streak including a world record against Slovenia and a canter to the Croatia Cup title.

The series would also mark a number of debuts on each side but would feature heavily capped players, including Maggie Mengo and Jerrica Bartlett  for Namibia and Jessica O’Connor and Cindy Hack for South Africa.

The opening game of the series saw international debuts for Lilian du Plessis, Alex Kavanagh and Jessica Lardant for SPAR South Africa. Although the newbies impressed the first blood was struck by SPAR South Africa as 66-capped Jessica O’Connor, the top scorer in the Zimbabwe series, continued her form with the opener. Lilian du Plessis, who has more than 100 outdoor caps for South Africa, got a goal on her debut and after Gillian Hermanus scored late on SPAR South Africa hung on for a good 2-1 win.

In the second match SPAR South Africa gave themselves the chance to seal the series fairly early with another 2-1 win. This time the opener came from Eloise Walters playing in her 35th test match, as early as the second minute. Sunelle Ludwig pulled one back before Lilian du Plessis made it 2 in 2 to seal a 2-0 series lead.

The classic third game challenge struck again for SPAR South Africa who cruised to a 3-1 lead thanks to a second half brace from Jessica O’Connor either side of a strike from the recalled Amy Greaves. Maggie Mengo, in her 49th game for Namibia, had earlier given Namibia the lead. But in almost identical circumstances to the African Cup final, South Africa let the 3-1 lead slip and a Gillian Hermanus brace meant a 3-3 draw kept the series alive.

There was no back door left open for Namibia in the fourth game as SPAR South Africa sealed the series with an emphatic 3-0 victory. Eloise Walters rediscovered hera goal scoring form to settle the game with two late strikes after Cindy Hack in her 71st game for the country gave SA the early lead. The clean sheet was deserved for a fine performance from Zimi Shange making important saves when necessary.  Maggie Mengo got her 50th cap, becoming the first Namibian indoor hockey player to achieve 50 caps.

With the series already tied, the final game probably offered the most entertainment. Gillian Hermanus got her 4th and 5th goal of the series to give Namibia a 2-0 half-time lead. Jessica Lardant pulled one back with her first international goal before Dure Boshoff re-established the 2 goal cushion. The shoe was on the other foot though as South Africa sought to keep a remarkable undefeated run going and Edith Molikoe pulled one back with 3 minutes remaining before Jessica Lardant got her second in the second last minute to secure a 3-3 draw and a 3-0 series win for the hosts.

The victory in the series without tasting a defeat in a single match means SPAR South Africa have now gone undefeated in normal time in 25 consecutive test matches dating back to 27 November 2016. Coach Lennie Botha will be happy with the result but also with the continued development of a greater SPAR SA Indoor Hockey squad, now being able to call on around 20 different players with International experience. It’s bound to create some tough selection decisions ahead of the Psi All Stars series in December, but it’s a problem that I am sure Botha will be excited by!

The South African Hockey Association have released the names of the 12 players who will play for SPAR South Africa in a 5 match test series at Danville Girls High School in Durban. It will be a massive series for both teams as it’s the first indoor hockey that Namibia have played since the Indoor Hockey World Cup, while SPAR South Africa are on the back of a superb 15 match winning run since they drew the final of the African Qualifier last year.

The SPAR South African team, although on a tremendous run that included the Croatian Cup title, are still in a rebuilding phase with all eyes looking towards the next World Cup. With that in mind they have called up three new caps to the team. Alex Kavanagh, who played for the St. Lucia Lakers at the CTM Premier Hockey League, is given her first opportunity. Another Under 21 player that just played in the Under 21 IPT with Kavanagh, Jessica Lardant is also given a chance to play senior international indoor hockey for the first time for South Africa. The third new cap is no stranger to SA Hockey fans as she has already played more than 100 outdoor test matches for South Africa, Lilian du Plessis, who was the top scorer at last year’s indoor IPT, offers coach Lennie Botha a lethal goal scoring striker.

There is also a recall for Amy Greaves who will add to her 37 caps for SPAR South Africa, while the impressive Edith Molikoe, who was a star in the Zimbabwe series, gets to add to her 5 caps. Robyn Johnson and Eloise Walters are both retained up front from the Zimbabwe series and in goals Cheree Greyvenstein and Zimi Shange will continue to battle it out for the role of keeper.

Amore de Wet, arguably one of South Africa’s top performers in Zimbabwe, is once again going to be called on to form a defensive partnership with senior player Jessica O’Connor. SPAR South Africa will also continue to be led by the inspirational Cindy Hack, who will be excited to take on Namibia again.

The team will be under the guidance of Lennie Botha, fast approaching 100 international indoor test matches, video analyst Bright Mashaba and the manager for this series will be Karen Bowyer.

The five-match series will be played over three days at Danville Park Girls School in Durban North and we are looking forward to hosting international indoor hockey in front of a packed crowd once again.

First Test: Thursday 4 October – 18:00
Second Test: Friday 5 October – 10:00
Third Test: Friday 5 October – 18:00
Fourth Test: Saturday 6 October – 10:00
Fifth Test: Saturday 6 October – 18:00

SPAR South Africa Squad for Namibia Test Series (Caps in Brackets)

No

Name

Province

Caps

1

Alex Kavanagh

Southern Gauteng

0

2

Amore de Wet

North West

29

3

Amy Greaves

KZN Inland

37

4

Cheree Greyvenstein (GK)

SPAR KZN Raiders

14

5

Cindy Hack (C)

SPAR KZN Raiders

67

6

Edith Molikoe

Eastern Province

5

7

Eloise Walters

KZN Inland

33

8

Jess Lardant

SPAR KZN Raiders

0

9

Jess O’Connor

SPAR KZN Raiders

65

10

Lilian du Plessis

Southern Gauteng

0

11

Robyn Johnson

Southern Gauteng

10

12

Zimi Shange (GK)

SPAR KZN Raiders

5

Team Staff
Lennie Botha (Coach)
Brighty Mashaba (Video Analyst)
Karen Bowyer (Manager)

 

 

SPAR South Africa ladies that completed a whitewash against Zimbabwe. From L – Cheree Greyvenstein, Zimi Shange, Tegan Fourie, Robyn Johnson, Jessica O’Connor, Eloise Walters, Edith Molikoe, Jenna Shuker, Amore de Wet, Jamie Southgate & Cindy Hack (captain)

SPAR South Africa today completed a series whitewash against Zimbabwe in the first ever indoor hockey test series played in the country. The victory, in front of a full crowd at Hellenic Academy in Harare, was the fifteenth consecutive victory for SPAR South Africa.

Zimbabwe were desperate to give the home crowd something to celebrate and for the first time in the series found themselves in the lead when veteran striker Nicola Watson finished well. This sparked SPAR South Africa into action, but they found a resolute Zimbabwe backline repelling everything that was thrown at them. The pure weight of pressure was always going to tell, and it was Eloise Walters who finished on the rebound after another good save by Haasbroek in Zimbabwe’s goal.

SPAR South Africa continued to tighten the vice-like grip they had on the game and Zimbabwe were punished when they gave too much space to South African captain Cindy Hack who converted brilliantly. There was time for a penalty stroke for South Africa before half-time, but Tegan Fourie was denied by Haasbroek to keep the half-time score at 2-1.

The half-time break did nothing to quell the momentum that had turned in favour of SPAR South Africa and Jessica O’Connor got in on the action with a PC that was pure textbook from the fan favourite. Cindy Hack then extended the lead to 4-1 with a classy reverse stick flick. That goal underlined just how good Hack is when given space and probably how well Zimbabwe had done to limit those opportunities throughout the series.

To the delight of a packed crowd, Nicola Watson got her second of the night after superb work from Nicolle Grant and set up a potential grandstand finish. South Africa would not let happen though as they quickly regained the 3-goal lead through Jessica O’Connor. That would be the last goal of the game and would confirm the whitewash for South Africa.

Throughout the series there were large elements of things that would make coach Lennie Botha happy. The performance of debutants Edith Molikoe and Zimi Shange were fantastic, Edith adapted to International hockey superbly well for an 18-year-old and looked assured in rubbing shoulders with experienced duo Jess O’Connor and Cindy Hack.

Amore de Wet took the series to establish herself as one of the leaders in the South African defence while Cheree Greyvenstein left the South African selectors with tough decisions to make in the future regarding the goalkeeping situation. 

SPAR South Africa will next be in action in October when they host African Champions Namibia for the first time since the World Cup Qualifiers. It promises to be a thrilling series and an exciting opportunity for both teams to show their progress they have made.

Series Results

1st Test – Zimbabwe 2-4 South Africa
2nd Test – Zimbabwe 0-1 South Africa
3rd Test – Zimbabwe 2-6 South Africa
4th Test – Zimbabwe 0-3 South Africa
5th Test – Zimbabwe 2-5 South Africa

The fourth indoor hockey test match in the Psi International series between Zimbabwe and SPAR South Africa took place at Hellenic Academy in Harare today. With the series already decided after SPAR South Africa won the opening three games the expected release of pressure for both sides did not materialise.

A cagey first half was highlighted by missed opportunities and a big call to disallow a Cindy Hack moment of brilliance. The goals wouldn’t come despite a few moments of brilliance and the game dissolved into a tactical battle searching for the opening.

South Africa’s best opportunities came from Cindy Hack and Robyn Johnson, both denied well by Jaime Haasbroek. Zimbabwe created their own good opportunities through Nicola Watson and Lylie Wilde, but Cheree Greyvenstein was up to the challenge.

As coach Lennie Botha rang out instructions at half time, the capacity crowd were in full voice behind the stellar performance of the hosts. An African drum playing group of fans were creating an environment that English football would be proud of.

The second half started in the same tentative way, but Zimbabwe were being pushed further and further back and the pressure eventually told when the reliable Jessica O’Connor finished a superb flick to give the South Africans the lead.

A period of pressure almost like a torrential rain pour then faced the Zimbabwean defence as possession and territory must have been nearly 80% in favour of the South Africans and Jordyn Cripstone pulled off the save of the series when a shot was flying in to the top right corner. It was a remarkable stick save that the crowd thoroughly enjoyed.

The second goal did arrive for SPAR South Africa through a wonderful piece of play by Jamie Southgate and Edith Molikoe. The goal was a nice prize for an improved performance by Southgate today. With two minutes to go Cindy Hack got her goal with a delightful reverse stick flick.

For the remaining three minutes South Africa held the possession to see out the game. It was a very professional performance to confirm the second clean sheet of the series and a 4-0 lead.

Team assistant coach Brighy Mashaba shared his thoughts on the fourth test: “We were really happy with our defensive performance, especially not making any errors in the critical areas of the pitch. We were tactically aware of our position in the game and controlled our approach and tempo at the different phases in the game. This helped us create the pressure that ultimately proved to be the difference for us.”

Series Results

1st Test – Zimbawe 2-4 SPAR South Africa
2nd Test – Zimbabwe 0-1 SPAR South Africa
3rd Test – Zimbabwe 2-6 SPAR South Africa
4th Test – Zimbabwe 0-3 SPAR South Africa

The SPAR South Africa indoor side was able to seal the first ever indoor hockey test series in Zimbabwe as they won both test matches played at Hellenic Academy in Harare today. The series, being played in conjunction with the launch of Pro Series Indoor in Zimbabwe, is a fantastic sign of the growth of indoor hockey in Africa.

In the morning test match the SPAR South Africa and Zimbabwe ladies played out a scrappy game with the amount of chances proving to be far less than in the opening test match. South Africa started Zimi Shange in goals, her first International start, and she was arguably the busier keeper in the early stages as the high press from Zimbabwe reaped benefits.

Zimbabwe’s inability to take chances at key moments was a big area they were looking to improve on, but they would probably be frustrated by the profligacy in front of goal. SPAR South Africa were building momentum in the game and were creating a lot of circle entries but will be frustrated that they did not test Jaime Haasbroek in the Zimbabwe goals enough.

The game was crying out for a moment of quality and that’s exactly what you can expect from national captain Cindy Hack. Creating a pocket of space Hack lined up to strike and as the defenders moved she sliced off a beautiful cross that Tegan Fourie finished her 13th International goal in her 11th match for SPAR South Africa.

Incredibly it was the only goal of a game that saw Jordyn Cripstone and Zimi Shange silence anything that was thrown their way. The win put SPAR South Africa on the verge of a series victory, which they would look to clinch in the evening game.

SPAR South Africa were in far more clinical mood in the evening game and played some spells of truly scintillating hockey. Zimbabwe to their credit were putting in significant effort to stay with their neighbours but when the South African ladies turn it on and it clicks there are few defences that would cope.

There was a great moment when South Africa scored their first as Edith Molikoe got onto the end of a superb team movement to score her first International goal. It was an absolute exquisite ball from Eloise Walters that left Molikoe with the opportunity. It was 2-0 a few minutes later when Cindy Hack set up Tegan Fourie and the youngster scored her 14th International goal, matching her shirt number! Hack was at it again when she combined wonderfully with Molikoe and unselfishly gave the ball to the youngster to finish into an empty net.

There was time for one more in the half as Jessica O’Connor got in on the action with a low drive that beat Jaime Haasbroek in the goal. That was the end of a very satisfactory first half for South Africa and coach Lennie Botha would be much happier with that performance.

After a static opening ten minutes of the second half, the game raised its intensity when Zimbabwe were given a penalty stroke. Greyvenstein was adjudged to have gone through the back of Nicolle Grant. Grant herself dispatched the stroke like Chris Gayle hitting a 6.

That woke SPAR South Africa up from their temporary slumber and they fired two quick goals. First it was Jess O’Connor with her own net bursting flick before Tegan Fourie got her second of the night to make it 6-1. Cheree Greyvenstein made a fantastic save with her helmet as Zimbabwe asked questions but each one was answered with the confidence of a matric doing Grade 6 maths.

There was time for one more Zimbabwe goal to the delight of their home crowd, but in truth SPAR South Africa managed the game well and were never in major trouble. South Africa have now won the series but will still offer two more entertaining test matches over the next two days!

It was a perfect afternoon at Hellenic Academy School in Harare as Zimbabwe and SPAR South Africa took to the field in the first ever Indoor Hockey International match in the country. With the Pro Series Indoor launching on the same day, the crowd was full of excited youngsters and hockey lovers.

It was always going to be a historic first goal when it arrived, and the crowd did not have long to wait. Just 50 seconds in and Eloise Walter gave SPAR South Africa a lead. If they thought it was going to be a routine win, they would be very wrong. Zimbabwe took the game to SPAR South Africa with Iman Johnson being particularly impressive. Zimbabwe would pull level with their historic first ever home goal coming through their oldest player Nicola Watson.

SPAR South Africa took the lead again when skipper Cindy Hack scored from a penalty corner, it was a well worked goal through combination play with Jamie Southgate. Zimbabwe refused to lie down and threw everything they could muster and were rewarded with a punch of penalty corners. At the fifth attempt they finally converted one when Michelle Williams fired home a bullet.

The parity in the game did not last long as Edith Molikoe, making her debut for SPAR South Africa at the age of 18, produced a sublime pass that Tegan Fourie finished with a maturity that makes you forget she is still only 20! Despite a few chances for both sides the half ended 3-2.

The second half saw an improved defensive play from SPAR South Africa that limited chances for Zimbabwe, who had exerted everything in the first half and started to tire. The African champions created multiple chances but were unable to convert and were denied by some great goalkeeping by Cripstone in the second half. They also failed to finish a penalty stroke when Tegan Fourie struck the upright.  At this point Zimi Shange was substituted onto the field to earn her first cap for SPAR South Africa.

The goal that looked like it was always going to come, eventually did when Robyn Johnson showed some remarkable skill in her sixth test match to score her fourth international goal. Having dealt with a superb crowd supporting the home team, a quick turf, the light element that was challenging and adapting to new players in the squad, it was job done for Lennie Botha and his team. They would have areas identified to work on, but overall will be satisfied with the result.

New International capped players Edith and Molikoe shared their thoughts after the game.

“I am so excited to be part of this historic indoor test series and to be able to wear the national colours is a huge honour.” Said Shange, while Molikoe added: “It is a privilege to be able to represent your country at any level and I am incredibly thankful for this opportunity! We will make our country proud.”

Remaining matches of the Zimbabwe Indoor Test Series

11th August (10:00) – Second Test
11th August (18:00) – Third Test
12th August (16:00) – Fourth Test
13th August (16:00) – Fifth Test

It was almost poetic that on National Women’s Day, the SPAR South Africa women’s hockey team gathered together to travel to Zimbabwe for the first ever International Indoor Hockey test series played in the country.

On the back of the launch of the ever-popular Pro Series Indoor in Zimbabwe, the SPAR South African ladies will take on the hosts in a five-match series at Hellenic School in Harare. It is the first senior international hockey of any form played in Zimbabwe for about 8 years and a great sign for the development of African Hockey.

This is the first indoor hockey for SPAR South Africa since their victorious participation in the Croatia Cup in January and offers a small taste tester for the remainder of the year. There is a five-match series against Namibia planned for October, while a four-match exhibition series against a World All-Stars will meet the team in December.

SPAR South Africa will once again be led by 62-cap skipper Cindy Hack, who was player of the tournament in Croatia, and features Jessica O’Connor as the other senior player, having amassed 60 caps for the national team. The team also features two exciting new caps. 18-year-old Edith Molikoe, a prodigious talent from the Eastern Cape, will make her International debut and is a name that you will hear a lot about going forward. Zimi Shange has been around the squad for a while but will earn her first cap in this series as the alternate keeper with Cheree Greyvenstein.

“We are so incredibly excited to be here for the first ever indoor test series in Zimbabwe,” shared captain Cindy Hack “it’s a great opportunity to get back into the swing of indoor hockey and to introduce a few younger players to the international stage. We would like to thank SPAR for continuing to support our indoor hockey journey.”

In a warm up game yesterday, SPAR South Africa emerged victorious with a 7-1 victory over the super spirited Zimbabwe “A” side, young star Tegan Fourie netting four of the goals, with Cindy Hack, Jess O’Connor and Edith Molikoe getting the others. It was a great warm-up to get used to the venue, put together for this weekend specifically, and the incredibly quick floor provided by Belgotex.

With more than 200 kids playing in the Psi series, the SPAR South Africa side will be sure of a vociferous crowd supporting the home side and creating a challenging environment. What more could you ask for!

South Africa vs. Zimbabwe Test Series Fixture

10th August (16:00) – First Test
11th August (10:00) – Second Test
11th August (18:00) – Third Test
12th August (16:00) – Fourth Test
13th August (16:00) – Fifth Test

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