SA Hockey Twitter Feed

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

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.

SA Hockey Sponsors, Partners and Affiliations