After three matches so far in the SPAR Indoor Hockey Test Series, the two nations have struggled to be separated, although it was the visitors who held the edge. With the opportunity to seal the series, the South Africans came out firing and produced their best display of the series so far to win the game 3-1 which left the series with an equal score line.

South Africa started the game incredibly well dominating the possession and territory and were rewarded with an early penalty corner. Although they were unable to convert it, it didn’t take long before they were rewarded for their efforts and got the goal they probably deserved when once again Kayla de Waal reacted quickest and fired home her fourth in as many games.

All her goals in the series so far had been from the open play, but de Waal showed in the 15th minute that her arsenal has even more tricks in it as she finished from a penalty corner and gave the Africans a two-goal lead at the break.

The two teams had slowly gained the measure on each other as the game progressed and the third quarter saw the two teams nullify each other both on attack and defence. Despite the growing encouragement of the crowd, they were left without any further addition to the scoresheet in the quarter.

With just four minutes remaining in the game the South Africans were ready to face an Irish onslaught as the hosts pulled their keeper off in order to have the extra player. It’s a brave tactic that can be a wonderful thing when it works but offers your opposition an “easy” goal if they take advantage.

That’s exactly what the South Africans did as they passed the ball with supreme accuracy and Eloise Walters was presented with a favourable opportunity to score, which a player of her calibre shouldn’t miss, and she didn’t.

To their credit Ireland continued to fight hard for a goal and were awarded a late penalty corner which led to a stroke. Despite not quite connecting it properly, Orla Fox was pleased to see the ball cross the line and add a deserved consolation to the score line.

The South Africans have thus secured the series as they lead 3-1 with one game to play, but Ireland will be looking to end their international season on a high when the two meet tomorrow night at 21:00. The game is live on the watch.hockey website and app.

The SPAR Indoor Test series reached its halfway stage tonight in Dublin as Ireland and South Africa met with the series tied at 1-1. Both teams looking to make a big statement and take a big step towards winning the series.

Incredibly after the early goal scoring in game one and two, we were presented with a very rare goalless first half. It was a tentative game with both teams looking to limit the number of mistakes they had made in the previous games but sacrificing a bit of “go forward” in the process.

Despite having slightly more possession and territory in the opening heart it was not the South Africans who were creating the best chances as Ireland came closest to breaking the deadlock but remarkably the teams finish the half without troubling the scorers, or TMS for that matter.

SPAR South Africa won an early penalty corner in the second half, but their clever variation was picked up this time and it remained scoreless. The game finally got its first goal in the 25th minute when Chloe Brown was caught in possession by Kayla de Waal and the former Youth Olympian made no mistake of the gift presented to her.

South Africa was starting to create more opportunities but were lacking the killer quality so often associated with the side and it as the momentum was growing the third quarter came to an end.

Ireland was determined to pull level in the final quarter and were getting a number of circle penetrations but not very many shots.  That was down to a combination of wastefulness of the Irish and defensive stability of the South Africans. Jess O’Connor, Jamie Southgate, Dunell van Taak and Jess Lardant were putting their best foot forward in the quarter.

South Africa thought they had a second with 2 minutes remaining when Kayla de Waal once again created an opportunity from an Irish error, her spin and shot seemed destined for the goal but the ball hit the outside of the post and went out.

Ireland pulled their keeper from the pitch as they were desperate for the equaliser, but in truth it was probably too late to have the desired impact for the hosts and South Africa winning the game 1-0 to take a 2-1 lead in the series.

The fourth test takes place tomorrow at 21:00 South African Time.

 

Picture - Max Fulham Photography

After Ireland captain Chloe Brown had struck with a late goal to give the Irish their first Indoor Hockey Test Match victory against SPAR South Africa, the two sides met for the second test tonight in Dublin. For SPAR South Africa the lack of cutting edge was massively disappointment having been the dominant force in the opening test and they were looking to be far more clinical in the second test.

They were the first to test a keeper in earnest with Jess Lardant testing Millie Reagan, who was up to the challenge. Despite Ireland beginning to settle into the opening quarter of a rather open encounter, the South Africans won the first penalty corner of the game and a switch from O’Connor to de Oliveira was enough for the youngster to finish and give the visitors the lead. Less than 40 seconds later it was 2-0 as the impressive Kayla de Waal showed her indoor hockey schooling is of the highest quality, creating and finishing her chance superbly. De Waal could have made it three before the first interlude, but Reagan was relieved to see it go wide.

Ireland started in much improved fashion in the second quarter with Lily Lloyd particularly impressive. It was her quick hands that won the penalty corner from which Chloe Brown pulled back with Irelands first goal of the half. The game became somewhat tentative after this with both sides almost waiting for an error to capitalise on. It came when Ireland were caught in defence and Walters, playing in her 51st game, finished when her own shot was rebound straight back to her and she slid it into the bottom corner. Despite Serage having to make one big save it remained 3-1 as the half time hooter sounded.

Ireland pulled back to within a goal early in the third quarter as the Patton sisters combined and Sarah Patton pulled out a moment of real quality to reignite the wonderful tension between the two sides. Kayla de Waal was troubling the Irish defence and her quick hands meant that Emma Buckley had to readjust and make a wonderful save to maintain the deficit.

Ireland was dangerous every time they countered with Lily Lloyd looking to make every counter effective and she was very nearly successful in that regard shortly after. The missed opportunity was a punished by the South Africans though as they effected quick turnover in the middle of the park and Daniela de Oliveira finished superbly. It was 4-2 at the end of the quarter.

But it took just 27 seconds into the final quarter for Ireland to set up a big finish to the test. Lili Lloyd showing remarkable skills created space and the tenacity of Sarah Patton was enough to get the goal and create an intriguing finish for the home crowd.

De Waal picked up a good ball from van Taak but fired wide, while Chloe Brown was unable to connect with a team mate and then missed an opportunity to finish after her brilliant run was sublimely picked up by Kelly.

Both sides were looking for a moment of magic but were finding opportunities of frustration popping up with regular occurrence leaving both Lennie Botha and Rob Abbott frustrated on their respective benches.

Ireland were awarded a corner with 3 minutes remaining after a push from one of the South African defenders, but a good shot by Chloe Brown was saved off the line by Jessica O’Connor superbly. Three minutes remained for Ireland to find an equaliser. They had another opportunity with South Africa a player short due to a green card too and a penalty corner. The opportunity was wasted as Ireland failed to trap and then squandered their player advantage by getting their own green card.

SPAR South Africa would deliver the moment of quality that the game was crying for. Jess O’Connor picked up the ball on the left, fired the reverse cross in and an inch-perfect finish from Eloise Walters left Buckley no chance to the delight of the visitors.

Ireland pulled their keeper for the final minute as the sought a consolation goal but it wasn’t to be. SPAR South Africa the deserved winners on the night and pullng the series level at 1-1. The two teams will meet in the third test tomorrow night at 20:00 SA Time, live on the Watch.Hockey app.

 

The cancellation of the FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup was a devastating blow for all countries that were meant to participate and also for the format of the game. The South African ladies who had been given the opportunity to play in the World Cup embarked on some great training camps, thanks to the wonderful support of SPAR. And now thanks to the support of SPAR they were able to at least return to a court as the SPAR Indoor Hockey Test Series got underway in Dublin. South Africa celebrated the 50th cap of long-time striker Eloise Walters. She was acknowledged before the start of the test.

The two sides clashed in 2019 in Irelands return to International Indoor Hockey with the South Africans winning the series 6-0. There was massive interest however to see what progress the Irish had made having played much more indoor in the time since that series including the recently completed European Championship. For the South Africans it was the opportunity for a number of younger stars to stake a claim following retirements and unavailability of the experienced group.

After a tentative start, South Africa won the opening penalty corner of the game but Danny de Oliveira saw her shot saved fairly easily. But despite territorial advantage the South Africans found themselves 1-0 down right at the end of the opening quarter as a Penalty corner was converted.

South Africaa though they had levelled through captain Jess O’Connor but there was a superb goal line save to keep the South Africans at bay with both Kayla de Waal and Edith Molikoe starting to become a force in the game. However as the South Africans started to dominate they were on the receiving end of a sucker punch with Ireland doubling the lead through Chloe Brown. South Africa finally managed to get on the scoresheet with a penalty corner converted by Jess Lardant

At the half time break South Africa were wondering how they were not comfortably ahead following huge domination, but the late goal will have settled some of the nerves heading into the second half.

South Africa continued with their dominant possession and the momentum was fully with them in the second half which saw them win a number of penalty corners. They were however lacking the end product and still trailed as the match edged to the end of the third quarter. Eventually with 20 seconds left on the clock it was Kayla de Waal who tapped home from a beautiful team play to level the match.

Ireland had a triple penalty corner award with the chance to re-establish the lead, but the Africans managed to keep it out. And with 6 minutes remaining it was still 2-2. Chloe Brown should then have scored and South Africa took the opportunity to win a penalty corner up the other end. Danny De Oliveira’s attempt was denied and Jamie Southgate then saw her shot saved.

With three minutes remaining Ireland had a penalty corner with the chance to take the lead again. And they did exactly that with a slip to Brown who finished superbly to give the hosts the lead. A sensational save in the last second saw Ireland hang on and earn themselves their first ever win against South Africa 3-2.

South Africa will be wondering how they weren’t able to win that after having three times as many circle entries and shots at goal.

The second test takes place tomorrow at the same time

 

Joni James penned the lyrical masterpiece Irish eyes are smiling, a light-hearted song which paid tribute to the Guinness loving country. In the song there is a poignant line that says when Irish eyes are smiling, the world seems bright. The SPAR Indoor Hockey Series will take place Gormanston Park in Co Meath and while Irish eyes will be smiling at the arrival of international indoor hockey in the country and the songs lyrics have been proven correct as the world seems brighter at the propsect of International Indoor Hockey returning.

For the South African team, it’s a welcome return to action after the cancellation of the Indoor Hockey World Cup and the squad features 11 of the 12 players that had been selected for the international showpiece in Belgium. The team will be led by Jess O'Connor for the first time, who has taken over the captaincy from the now retired Cindy Hack. While the absence of Celia Seerane and Kelly Reed means that there is opportunity for younger players to make their mark.

The fantastic support of the SPAR means that even the youngsters in the team have had superb development in the build up to this series. The likes of Daniella de Oliviera (5 caps), Tamlyn Kock (uncapped) and Nepo Serage (uncapped) have all been exposed to tough training camps and developed accordingly. The South Africans will give former Namibian International her debut cap for the country having nationalised following the mandatory break.

Although there are several younger players still making their mark on the international stage the team will be guided by the experienced trio of Jess O’Connor (108 caps), Jamie Southgate (53) and Eloise Walters (49).

The support of SPAR has been tantamount to the success of an era of indoor hockey under coach Lennie Botha, with 108 test matches being played against more than 20 different opponents. SPAR have also jumped on board in Ireland to support this series, a return of the SPAR Indoor Test Series in South Africa in 2019.

SPAR Sales Director Colin Donnelly said, “SPAR has a strong tradition of supporting sport in Ireland and we are thrilled to be in a position to sponsor this series of international matches between Ireland and South Africa and I want to wish all competing the very best of luck and I’m sure the spectators will be treated to some excellent matches.”

SPAR South Africa Squad

Name

Caps

Charlize Swanepoel

4

Nepo Serage

0

Jessica Lardant

30

Eloise Walters

49

Daniela De Oliveira

5

Edith Molikoe

35

Jamie Southgate

53

Jess O'Connor (Captain)

108

Tamlyn Kock

0

Robyn Johnson

44

Dunell van Taak

0 (19)

Kayla De Waal

17



SPAR Indoor Hockey Series (all at Gormanston Park, times in Ireland time)

Monday, February 21st 2022: Ireland v South Africa, 7pm
Tuesday, February 22nd 2022: Ireland v South Africa, 7pm
Wednesday, February 23rd 2022: Ireland v South Africa, 6pm
Thursday, February 24th 2022: Ireland v South Africa, 7pm
Friday, February 25th 2022: Ireland v South Africa, 7pm

The games will be live streamed on the Hockey Ireland YouTube Page

The following opportunities are available for the South African Indoor Hockey Teams.

The application form to be submitted with your cv can be found here

The SPAR South Africa women’s Indoor hockey side that will be heading to the 2022 FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup in Belgium has been named. The South African side received an invite to the tournament after the withdrawals due to COVID travel restrictions by both Australia and New Zealand.

For the SA Women it’s a new era after the retirement of legendary skipper Cindy Hack, along with the unavailability of Celia Seerane and Kelly Reed. It offers opportunity for a number of players, while Jessica O’Connor, who will become the most capped player at the World Cup, is a natural successor as captain.

They do however have a number of highly experienced players with Jamie Southgate having received her 50th cap at the Indoor Africa Cup of Nations, while Edith Molikoe, Jess Lardant, Eloise Walters and Robyn Johnson all have more than 30 test caps for their country.

South Africa will be competing for the fourth time at the FIH Indoor World Cup and would love nothing more than to improve on their 9th place finish at the 2015 World Cup. Under coach Lennie Botha the team have played a remarkable 108 test matches, winning 78 of them.

Of course, the South Africans have a remarkable run of form since the 2018 Indoor Hockey World Cup. They have played 53 test matches, winning 41 drawing 6 and losing just 6. Including victories against Switzerland, Czech Republic, Poland, Ireland, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

South Africa will be in Pool B alongside Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Namibia and Netherlands, with the top 4 teams advancing to the Quarter Final Stage

SA Captain Jessica O’Connor is eagerly anticipating the challenge

“We are SO excited to get to Belgium and take on the best in the world. The combination of experience and young new talent has created an exciting balanced dynamic. As always, we want to thank Spar for constantly backing us. We hope to make South Africa Proud.”

SA Women’s Indoor Team – FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup 2022

Player

Province

Caps

Charlize Swanepoel

Mpumalanga

4

Nepo Serage

Western Province

0

Jessica Lardant

SPAR KZN Raiders

30

Eloise Walters

KZN Inland

49

Daniela De Oliveira

SPAR KZN Raiders

5

Edith Molikoe

Northern Blues

35

Jamie Southgate

Western Province

53

Jess O'Connor

SPAR KZN Raiders

108

Tamlyn Kock

Southern Gauteng

0

Robyn Johnson

Southern Gauteng

44

Tegan Fourie

SPAR KZN Raiders

34

Kayla De Waal

Western Province

17

 

Travelling Reserves

Dunell van Taak

Northern Blues

0

Kirsty Adams

North West

0

SPAR South Africa captain Cindy Hack has announced her retirement from International Indoor Hockey. Hack who is the most capped African Indoor Hockey player became the first player to reach 100 caps against Ireland in December 2019.  She retires with 110 caps to her name and remarkably 108 goals.

“After a wonderful international hockey career, I would hereby like to officially announce my retirement from South African International and provincial hockey. I am eternally grateful for all the support over the years, and I feel privileged to have been able to represent and captain for my country on so many occasions for so many years. I am so excited to see what lies ahead for the incredibly talented young players! I look forward to supporting from the stands as the next generation takes the game forward!” shared Hack in announcing her retirement.

From her debut back in 2006, through two Indoor Hockey World Cups and the birth of two wonderful daughters, Hack has been the epitome of a professional. This in an amateur sport where she must still be a full-time mother and complete her day job working for the University of Free State. At an advanced age in hockey terms, Hack is playing with a youthful exuberance more so now than previously in her career. Much like a fine wine, Hack kept getting better with age!

Hack enjoyed tremendous success with the team in recent years leading them to the Croatian Cup as well as series victories over Switzerland, Ireland and Czech Republic, while sharing a test series with Poland away from home.

On the occasion of her 100th test match, Jamie Southgate, her national teammate for more exactly half her tests, was glowing in her praise of Hack.

“Since I have been in the team, Cindy has always been the busy bee of the team, if she is not playing hockey then she is working and if not working she is looking after two incredible daughters. Our captain fantastic, Cindy is an outright goal scoring machine, she has so much more knowledge and experience of the game which helps a lot of individuals find their feet in the national team, including me. Not only that, but her personality is so warm and welcoming that there is no fear to just be yourself. Cindy, along with the seniors, have played a vital role in installing a family orientated culture and I will forever be proud to call these ladies my family. Cindy is a pillar of strength in our team and possesses all the qualities of a true leader. Most importantly she is my friend, and I am so honoured to be able to play alongside someone of her calibre.”

SA Hockey CEO Marissa Langeni shared

“On behalf of the South African Hockey Association I would like to thank Cindy for her fantastic and unwavering dedication and commitment to the sport. Cindy has always carried herself with dignity and class and was a model representative for the green and gold. Well, we are sad we won’t see you on the court anymore, the impact you have had will be seen for many more years to come!”

The opening day of the Indoor Africa Cup at Thomas More College in KwaZulu Natal produced goals galore and a superb tight tussle between the continents top 2 sides as SPAR South Africa ended day one on top of the table.

In the morning session both the African heavyweights welcomed Botswana to their first International tournament with heavy victories as they both made their presence in the tournament felt immediately. Playing in front of an empty crowd did not stop either side from their dominant displays as both laid out their first marker for the day.

Its set things up for a bumper final match of the night in the women’s game as a repeat of the 2017 final was played between Namibia and SPAR South Africa. The match also marked Jamie Southgates 50th cap for the South Africans.  The South Africans made the most of a dominant start with Edith Molikoe turning things over and giving the hosts a well-deserved lead.

Although they were very good in possession, the South Africans weren’t creating as many chances as they would have liked, but Jess O’Connor and Celia Seerane were dominant in limiting the chances of the defending champions. South Africa were finally able to get the second in the fourth quarter with Kelly Reed benefitting from a fortuitous deflection off Sunelle Ludwig. It was a goal the performance probably deserved and there was a collective sigh of relief.

The door was however slightly ajar, and Namibia managed to pull one goal back, but it was too little too late for Maggie Mengo’s team who end day one with a 50% record.

Indoor Africa Cup 2021 – Day 1 Results - Men

South Africa 26-0 Botswana
Namibia 30-0 Botswana
South Africa 2-1 Botswana

The Men’s tournament also offered goals galore in the opening salvos as both Namibia and South Africa welcomed Botswana to International Indoor hockey with big victories, setting up a mouth-watering clash for the days final game of the day.

The much-awaited clash did not fail to live up to its billing as a hot-tempered clash offered an insight into what to expect over the next two days. A clash of giants with Hack vs. Cormack an interesting sub plot.

Although the game was hotly contested, in truth the hosts and defending champions were always in control from the moment they took a 1-0 lead through a superb Justin Domleo strike. The celebration clearly showed how much importance both teams were placing on this match up.

Namibia kept South Africa honest by pegging the score back to 1-1 (Hermanus), 4-2 (Hatton) and 5-3 (Hermanus). But a brace for Mustapha Cassiem was in the end enough for a South African victory and top of the table after day 1. Both teams will be looking to make a further statement in their match up tomorrow ahead of an almost confirmed final on Sunday afternoon.

Indoor Africa Cup 2021 – Day 1 Results - Men

Namibia 27-0 Botswana
South Africa 36-0 Botswana
South Africa 2-1 Botswana

The day 2 matches will be streamed live on the Rayder Media YouTube page or on the Watch.Hockey app.

The South African Hockey Association has announced the team that will represent the country at the African Indoor Cup, African Hockey’s Indoor World Cup Qualifier, in Durban in April. The team features three uncapped players in the 12, along with the two most capped indoor hockey players in Africa.

Cindy Hack and fellow centurion Jess O’Connor will be paramount to the South Africans goals of winning back the tournament from Namibia and securing the spot at the Indoor World Cup in Belgium next year. The two centurions are also joined by experienced playmaker Kelly Reed and Celia Seerane (Evans) in a team brimming with talent.

Tegan Fourie, Jamie Southgate, Edith Molikoe, Robyn Johnson and Zimi Shange are all closing in on their own milestones of 50 Test caps and the fact that they have graced the international courts with some of the world’s best players like Janne Muller-Wieland, Alex Heerbert and Marlena Rybacha will hold them in good stead for sure.

It’s been almost 16 months since the team last played, but that was on the back of a wonderful run of form including series victories against Switzerland, Ireland and Poland. They will undoubtedly look to bring that form back as soon as they are on the court together again in Durban.

Charlise Swanepoel from Mpumalanga will have her first opportunity to wear the national smock in goals, while Cheneal Raubenheimer will also win her first cap for SPAR South Africa. Exciting young Daniella de Oliveira is the third of the new caps in coach Lennie Botha’s squad.

“I am incredibly proud of the effort the team have put in throughout the difficult COVID Pandemic. We have had to make some difficult decisions, but our selection team have put together a squad of players that I believe will provide us with the best chances to win the African Indoor Cup.” Shared Lennie Botha. “We also want to thank SPAR for trusting in our process and supporting our team the way they have!”

The tournament will see South Africa, Namibia and Botswana compete to earn the right to represent Africa at the 2021 Indoor Hockey World Cup in Belgium.

SPAR South Africa Squad – African Indoor Cup 2021

Charlize Swanepoel

Mpumalanga

Cheneal Raubenheimer

Eastern Province

Cindy Hack

SPAR KZN Raiders

Celia Seerane

Northern Blues

Daniela de Oliviera

SPAR KZN Raiders

Edith Molikoe

Northern Blues

Jamie Southgate

Western Province

Jessica O’Connor

SPAR KZN Raiders

Kelly Reed

SPAR KZN Raiders

Robyn Johnson

Southern Gauteng

Tegan Fourie

SPAR KZN Raiders

Zimi Shange

SPAR KZN Raiders