The much-anticipated Indoor Test Series between South African and Switzerland’s indoor Men and Women got underway in a massive thunderstorm in Durban North. The weather didn’t put off a capacity crowd inside the Danville Park Indoor Sports Centre, filled with South Africans still high on cloud 9 from the Springbok World Cup win.

The BlitzStoks played the earlier game with the return of Keagan Robinson alongside the debutants Steven Paulo, Lungani Gabela, Keegan Hezlett, Chad Futcher, Jonty Robinson, Anton van Loggerenberg, Ignatius Malgraff and Cameron Goodwin. A largely inexperienced BlitzStoks side, powered by Tops at SPAR for this series, were enterprising in their attack but were caught out by the structured play by the Swiss. Yves Morard scored the first goal of the series from the first Penalty Corner showing why the Swiss were Quarter Finalists at the last Indoor Hockey World Cup.

The BlitzStoks grew into the game with Rusten Abrahams becoming a central figure in building some exciting attacking play. Chad Futcher and Keagan Robinson were able to open opportunities but found Jonas Verest limiting the space. South Africa were maybe left ruing the opportunities they had not converted in the first half when Marco Michel made it 2-0 for the Swiss from another Penalty Corner.

The South Africans though showed the never say die attitude you can attribute to our nation and fought back on a very slippery surface because of the humidity. They won a penalty stroke in the second half but were unable to convert it with Chad Futcher hitting the post. But South Africa would pull a goal back in the last quarter when Jethro Eustice fired home from a penalty corner with 6 minutes remaining. Chad Futcher would score his first international goal and atone for his stroke miss with just three minutes remaining and earn South Africa a credible draw with the world number 8 much to the delight of the partisan crowd.

Captain Jethro Eustice after the game: “We tried to focus on our defence and settle in our combinations. I think Switzerland probably had the best first half, but we were the better team in the second half, so the draw is probably a fair result. We want to bring a bit of youth and excitement into our game and build with this team and the new structures!”

The SPAR South African Indoor ladies record since the last African Cup has been mighty impressive winning 30 of the last 36, losing just three of the test matches in that time. With momentum building impressively the South Africans were keen to show that their series victory over Switzerland in January was not just a flash in the pan, but a show of the progress Lennie Botha’s side have made.

They were quick to show that domination against the Swiss, who themselves were building towards the EuroHockey Championship in January. After having two shots saved off the line by defenders, SPAR South Africa took the lead through captain fantastic Cindy Hack. The score would remain that way until the end of the third quarter when Kayla de Waal on her debut lit Danville up.

Cindy Hack produced a wonderful up the line ball and de Waal picked it up in the D. With her back to goal and under immense pressure from Tanja Landtwing the youngest player in the South African team showed tremendous composure and finished a delightful reverse flick. The Danville crowd were massively appreciative of the goal and so to was the rest of her team.

As Switzerland pushed for a way back into the game it was Celia Evans who put the game to bed for SPAR South Africa. Kayla de Waal turned provider when she crossed the ball for an onrushing Evans to slide it home. A 3-0 win to start the series exactly what the vociferous crowd had ordered.

After the game captain Cindy Hack was delighted: “I am so proud of the girls. There are some things we can still work on, but Im very happy with the performance. The crowd was absolutely sensational, thank you for the support, we are so proud to represent South Africa.”

Pictures – Everlasting Clicks / SA Hockey

Indoor Hockey begins its brave new world in South Africa as the Swiss Men and Women head to the home of the Rugby World Cup Champions for the first ever series played under the new rules of indoor Hockey. Under the new rules the matches will be four quarters of 10 minutes and that fundamental change throws up a variety of options for coaches.

Of course, it’s also a new world for the South African Indoor men, powered by Tops at SPAR for this series, as it’s the first time they are playing a home test match in almost five years and their first ever home indoor test series. Its also the first test series with David Joshua as the head coach and the country will be keen to see how him and the hordes of debutants go.

The SA Indoor Hockey Men, affectionately known as the BlitzStoks, have not played an indoor match since the 11th place playoff at the 2018 FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup and many of those players aren’t involved in this series. The team have announced Jethro Eustice as their captain, and he will be one of the few that have played Switzerland before in a 3-1 defeat at the World Cup.

The Swiss themselves will be preparing for the upcoming European Championship II at home in January with a clear goal on getting back into the top 8 of European Indoor Hockey again, while it will also be an opportunity for inspirational captain Manuel Keller to earn his 50th indoor hockey cap.

Over on the Women’s side there is a lot less uncertainty regarding this fixture. The two teams battled in Switzerland earlier this year with the SPAR South Africans surprising their hosts in a thrilling they 3-1 series victory. Star of the show was Cindy Hack who is closing in on being the first African Indoor Hockey player to reach 100 indoor test caps, and with her charges will be looking to show that series wasn’t a flash in the pan, but rather a statement of how far Lennie Botha’s team have come since the disappointment of the last African Cup.

For SPAR South Africa it will be the first step of a three-pronged summer attack with this series followed by a home series against Ireland before the team heads off to Poland for a test series. All of this is as the team build towards the African Qualifier with the winning team winning Africa’s spot at the 2021 Indoor Hockey World Cup.

The Swiss side will be looking to bounce back from that series defeat to the South Africans and themselves will also have an eye on the Euro Hockey Indoor Championship 2020 in January in Belarus as they look to secure their spot at the FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup.

The series starts in Durban with a match on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday before heading to Cape Town for Thursday, Friday and Saturday. All matches are being streamed by Digitv here https://events.digitv.co.za/2019/11/08/indoor-hockey-test-series/.

The SPAR South Africa Indoor Hockey squad has been named for the next three indoor hockey test series. The team is on a massive high following their superb run of form over the past 24 months and will get to test themselves against Switzerland and Ireland at home before heading to Poland in January.

The South Africans will be excited for the challenge against Switzerland after they were triumphant in Switzerland in January, winning the five-match series 3-1. The Swiss themselves will be eager to bounce back and show why they are ranked 7th in the World, while preparing for the European Cup in February next year. Ireland, who are new to the Indoor Hockey circuit and benefitting from the launch of Pro Series Indoor in the country, will travel to South Africa for the second series of the summer before SPAR South Africa trade in the sun for the snow and fly to Poland for a series against the World number 6.

In selecting the squad convenor of selectors Greg White

“I am very happy with the selection camp and we are so pleased with the opportunities for a team to play against quality international opposition. We are obviously going to do our best to win these series, but our focus is on the African Qualifier next year and getting to the next Indoor Hockey World Cup. I also think the fact that countries like Switzerland and Ireland are coming to the country is a testament to the programme we are running!”

The squad selected for the three series is a largely experienced squad with 50-capped players Kara Botes, Amy Greaves, Jess O’Connor and Cindy Hack all included. The team also sees Jess Lardant recalled after missing the SPAR Indoor Series against Zimbabwe and Botswana, while Kayla de Waal has earned the opportunity to get her first test cap.

SPAR South Africa Squad

No

Name

Province

1

Amy Greaves

KZN Inland

2

Celia Evans

Northern Blues

3

Cheree Greyvenstein (GK)

SPAR KZN Raiders

4

Cindy Hack (C)

SPAR KZN Raiders

5

Edith Molikoe

KZN Inland

6

Jamie Southgate

Western Province

7

Jessica Lardant

SPAR KZN Raiders

8

Jessica O’Connor

SPAR KZN Raiders

9

Kara Botes

Southern Gauteng

10

Kayla de Waal

Western Province

11

Robyn Johnson

Southern Gauteng

12

Zimi Shange (GK)

SPAR KZN Raiders

 

A 19-player squad has been selected for the SPAR South Africa squad for a selection camp at Danville Park Girls High School from the 26-28 September. From this selection camp the team will then be selected to take on Switzerland in November in 6 test matches split between Durban and Cape Town.

SPAR South Africa shocked the world number 7 Switzerland in January by winning the series 3-1 so the Europeans will be fired up to try and get revenge against a team who has not lost a series since the 2017 African Indoor Cup of Nations.

The squad has been selected on the back of the SPAR Indoor Series earlier this year and includes players that impressed for both SPAR South Africa and the Emerging South Africa sides that took on Zimbabwe and Botswana. Eloise Walter is also back in the squad having missed the SPAR Indoor Series through injury.

In terms of emerging South Africa players from the SPAR Indoor Series, Ammaarah Hendricks, Kayla de Waal, Nepo Serage and Nompilo Thenjwayo are the players who will fight to earn their first international caps while Jess Lardant and Andrea Leader will be looking to earn themselves further caps for the SPAR South Africa Indoor side.

Greg White, convenor of selectors, shared his thoughts on the team:

“Our focus is quickly shifting to the African Qualifiers for the next FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup, but we are also constantly looking to build for the future by exposing new players to International Indoor Hockey and rewarding form shown for the Emerging South Africa side. We are delighted with the mix of players selected and look forward to seeing how they handle the pressure of a selection camp before selecting our final squad to take on Switzerland. We know they will be looking for revenge, so it promises to be a fantastic series!”

SPAR South Africa Selection Camp

No

Name

Province

1

Alex Kavanagh

Southern Gauteng

2

Ammaarah Hendricks

Western Province

3

Amy Greaves

KZN Inland

4

Andrea Leader

Western Province

5

Celia Evans

Northern Blues

6

Cheree Greyvenstein (GK)

SPAR KZN Raiders

7

Cindy Hack

SPAR KZN Raiders

8

Edith Molikoe

KZN Inland

9

Eloise Walters

KZN Inland

10

Jamie Southgate

Western Province

11

Jessica Lardant

SPAR KZN Raiders

12

Jessica O’Connor

SPAR KZN Raiders

13

Kara Botes

Southern Gauteng

14

Kayla de Waal

Western Province

15

Nepo Serage (GK)

Western Province

16

Nompilo Thenjwayo

Southern Gauteng

17

Robyn Johnson

Southern Gauteng

18

Tegan Fourie

SPAR KZN Raiders

19

Zimi Shange (GK)

SPAR KZN Raiders

The SPAR Indoor Series came to a crescendo on Saturday night as the final games played out. In the final test a Cindy Hack inspired performance led SPAR South Africa to a 6-0 win over Zimbabwe in front of a capacity crowd at Danville Girls School. 

The Sports 24 Seven broadcast team were asked to elect the goalkeeper of the tournament and the player of the tournament. For the keeper it was awarded to Emerging South Africa's Nepo Serage. The Player of the tournament went to Cindy Hack for her 22 goals, while Tegan Fourie and Kara Botes were mentioned specifically for standout series. 

In a slightly different wrap up, we thought we would thanks some key stakeholders who helped a fantastic week take place!

Thank you to our hosts Danville Park Girls School in Durban North and St. Johns College for being absolutely fantastic venues for the game of indoor hockey. Thank you to our technical tables, our umpires and all officials that ensured everything took place consistently and well! Special thanks also to the clubs and players that featured in exhibition matches and to coaches that took time to share their knowledge with Botswana. Thank you to our Medics, security and team management for the roles they played and to Chris Murphy Photography for the wonderful photos. 

Thank you to Botswana Men and Women for adding some great value to the tournament and to Zimbabwe for being as passionate about indoor hockey as us. Thank you to Sports 24 Seven and Rayder Media for providing the live streaming and commentary. You can go back and watch the matches on Sports 24 Seven Facebook page. 

Alongside all of these a special thank you must go to SPAR. Their continued sponsorship and support of Women's Indoor Hockey in South Africa is unrivaled in the sport and we are grateful to have you in the SA Hockey family. 

 

Day four of the 2019 SPAR Indoor Series at Danville Girls High School in Durban North will be remembered fondly for the exhibition match between Zimbabwe and Emerging South Africa in the morning game. Following a decision from the tournament organizers, the exhibition match was streamed to allow the future players of South Africa to be seen from the hockey loving public. With Emerging South Africa having won 4-2 in the previous days encounter, Zimbabwe had revenge in their eyes! 

Emerging South Africa were superb in the first half and looked to have the game set with a 3-0 lead through goals from Cailynn den Bakker with a brace and Jess Lardant. In truth there seemed little hope for the Zimbabweans to produce a result and they looked a little tired after a superb performance against South Africa in the previous nights test match. 

But with a little over ten minutes left Zimbabwe produced a thrilling fight back to steal an improbable result. Natalie Terblanche, then Simone Herbst and then Terblanche again brought the game to a 3-3 tie before Herbst netted a winner that lifted the Zimbabweans to their best moment on the tour. It was a thrilling game and a superb advert of indoor hockey. 

Having put it all on the line Zimbabwe looked out of legs and their fire was doused by SPAR South Africa and in particular Tegan Fourie in the fourth test match. Zimbabwe netted the games opening goal through Giorgia Allardice before South Africa surged to victory. Kara Botes got the hat-trick, Cindy Hack a brace, and the Southern Gauteng pair of Robyn Johnson and Alex Kavanagh made the game safe in a 7-1 win. 

SPAR South Africa had also emerged comfortably victorious in the early morning game against Botswana. 

One more day remains and one more test between the two nations. 

 

The third day of the SPAR Indoor Series at Danville Park Girls School in Durban North started with the SPAR South African ladies playing their first ever indoor hockey test match against their neighbours Botswana. The game was extremely one sided as expected but the development of Botswana thanks to the involvement in series like this will be a great boost for African Indoor hockey. 

All eyes were of course on the SPAR South Africa vs. Zimbabwe test match in the evening with a packed Danville Park Girls School joined by hundreds of people watching on the Sports 24 Seven live stream. Zimbabwe were keen to give a better display for their families and friends watching from home and that determination was apparent. 

They trailed to a Kara Botes penalty corner and a field goal from captain Cindy Hack before the crowd was treated to 10 of the best minutes of the series for Zimbabwe. Michelle Williams, the star of the show for Zimbabwe pulled a goal back from the penalty corner for her side and a frenetic atmosphere was then created when Roxanne viviers broke from the back before laying off the ball and receiving a fine through ball from Williams and firing home the equaliser. 

With Zimbabwe having all the momentum ahead of half time, the SPAR South Africans showed their class with a goal that was a sucker punch for the Zimbabweans coming with the last play of the first half. Jess O'Connor received the ball from Botes at Penalty corner time, then fired it into the top left corner superbly. 

Kara Botes, in sublime form for SPAR South Africa, re-established the two goal lead with a penalty corner before Alexi Terblanche gave the Zimbabweans hope again with a penalty corner of their own. The nerves were massive in the crowd, but Robin Johnson produced the pefect run and fade to make it 5-3 for South Africa and seal the win. 

There was time for South Africa to put the nail in the coffin with crowd favourite Jamie Southgate getting a goal from a tight angle and celebrating with a Thriller dance! With that win South Africa had sealed the series

The SPAR Indoor Series moved to Danville Girls School in Durban North for the remainder of the series. And after an early knock around with KZN Invitational, all eyes turned to the second test between SPAR South Africa and Zimbabwe. The eyes were numerous as the match was being live streamed by Sports 24 Seven on their Facebook Page.

The South Africans had been tested in their series in Zimbabwe last year in August and were expecting another stern examination from their neighbours in front of the Danville crowd. The Zimbabweans themselves were buoyed after getting their first ever indoor hockey test win against Botswana in their first ever indoor test match. Stephanie Wilde and Alexi Terblanche both got hat-tricks for the Zimbabweans.

Lennie Botha’s side were in the mood and dominated the early engagments and deservingly went into a 5-0 lead with minutes of the break. Cindy Hack, Robyn Johnson, Celia Evans and a brace from Kara-Lee Botes proving the difference. There was a moment of cheer for Zimbabwe just before the break as Roxanne Viviers pulled one back from a penalty corner to take it to the break.

Zimbabwe emerged from the interval with a renewed determination and surged forward putting South Africa under incredible pressure. As the momentum continued to grow there was almost a sense that the game was swinging into Zimbabwe’s favour, Botha showed the perfect reading of the game in calling the timeout. A quick reshuffle and South Africa had regained the ascendancy brilliantly as Chris Fourie’s side failed to respond.

South Africa then ran away with Tegan Fourie netting four and romped to a 14-1 win, their biggest ever win over Zimbabwe. Celia Evans, Kara Botes and Jess O’Connor all got on the scoresheet as well as Alex Kavanagh, the Sports 24 Seven player of the match.

SPAR South Africa will play Botswana and Zimbabwe tomorrow as the action heats up in Durban

African Indoor Hockey is set for a timely boost this week as the SPAR Indoor Series gets underway in KwaZulu Natal. The series features Botswana Men and Women, Zimbabwe, SPAR South Africa and excitingly an Emerging South African side featuring U21 players.

It’s the first time that the South African ladies will be in action since their historic and triumphant tour to Europe earlier this year where they beat Switzerland and drew with the Czech Republic. Its also a South African squad with heaps of experience as Jess O’Connor, Cindy Hack, Kara Botes and Amy Greaves all have more than 50 test caps, while the return from injury of Celia Evans is extremely exciting for fans of the game.

Zimbabwe, who competed fantastically at the Psi Indoor Hockey Series in Zimbabwe last year, will look to continue building on their development and their goals to challenge their Southern African neighbours in the African Cup. Botswana are the unknown factor as they take their first steps into International Indoor Hockey, but there is a lot of excitement around this.

The South African Emerging Squad features some exciting talent including IPT top goal scorer Cloe de Souza and will be led by SPAR South Africa’s assistant coach AJ Spieringshoek, supported by Brighty Mashaba and Bridget Kee. It’s the first time an Emerging South Africa will play International opponents in exhibition matches, so it offers a superb opportunity to the fans.

Tournaments like this are only possible thanks to the backing of sponsor SPAR South Africa. Speaking to the Hockey 24 Seven Podcast by Rayder Media, Cindy Hack was quick to pay tribute to SPAR: “SPAR is not just our sponsor, they are our family. We can’t thank them enough for believing in us and supporting us right from the start. We will continue to work to make our sponsors and our fans proud!”

The full schedule is available here:

The following matches will be live streamed through the Sports 24 Seven Facebook page:

Wednesday 29 May 18:00 – SPAR South Africa vs. Zimbabwe
Thursday 30 May 10:00 – SPAR South Africa vs. Botswana
Thursday 30 May 18:00 – SPAR South Africa vs. Zimbabwe
Friday 31 May 10:00 – SPAR South Africa vs. Botswana
Friday 31 May 18:00 – SPAR South Africa vs. Zimbabwe
Saturday 01 June 10:00 – Zimbabwe vs. Botswana
Saturday 01 June 18:00 – SPAR South Africa vs. Zimbabwe

In a fantastic opportunity to develop the pool of indoor hockey players at an international level, the South African Hockey Association has announced the Emerging South Africa Indoor side that will play exhibition matches against Zimbabwe, Botswana and the SPAR South Africa team at the SPAR Indoor Series in Durban from the 28 May – 1 June.

This is the second time an Emerging South Africa squad has been announced, but it will be the first time an emerging squad will play international opponents. It’s a fantastic opportunity to involve more of the players already in the system with a mix of youthful excellence in a squad that highlights the superb depth South African Women’s Indoor Hockey is currently experiencing in the country.

Jess Lardant and Andrea Leader all made international debuts for South Africa over the past month and are included adding superb experience to the Emerging squad. Cloe de Sousa earns her call up on the back of a top goalscoring performance for Southern Gauteng at the IPT, while Nompilo Thenjwayo is also called up after a highly impressive showing for Southern Gauteng Wits at the tournament.  

The other players selected for the Emerging South Africa squad all impressed at the Indoor IPT in Pietermaritzburg in February and all of them are 19 years of age or younger, with the impressive Yasmin de Meyer the youngest at a remarkable 15 years of age. Kayla de Waal was awarded the emerging player of the Indoor IPT and her continued development will be exciting to see.

The team will be led by assistant coach for SPAR South Africa in AJ Spieringshoek, who himself will be supported by Brighty Mashaba and Bridget Kee. The team manager will be Nolwazi Nkabinde, who has done a superb job in KZN Hockey.

Convenor of selectors Greg White was impressed by the depth of talent in the upcoming ranks.

“The series offered us a fantastic opportunity to rotate in terms of the greater squad for SPAR South Africa and to test new combinations. Selecting an Emerging squad, who will play International opposition for the first time, gives us the opportunity to also play some new exciting players in a challenging environment. We have put together a team of players in the national pool as well as players who impressed fantastically at the Indoor Hockey IPT. We believe that an opportunity like this will go a long way in developing the depth of indoor hockey in our country. The talent is immense, and I am excited to see the next phase of their progress in Durban!”

The Emerging South Africa squad will play three games against Botswana, two games against Zimbabwe and of course one against SPAR South Africa, in what promises to be an exiting series for fans. All their games will take place at Danville Girls High School in Durban North.

Emerging South Africa Indoor Squad

No

Name

Province

1

Kaylim Bowers

SG Witsies

2

Yasmin de Meyer

KZN Inlands

3

Kayla de Waal

Western Province

4

Cloe de Sousa

Southern Gauteng

5

Cailynn den Bakker

SPAR KZN Raiders

6

Amaarah Hendricks

Western Province

7

Jessica Lardant

SPAR KZN Raiders

8

Andrea Leader

Western Province

9

Nepo Serage (GK)

WP Peninsula

10

Charlise Swanepoel (GK)

Mpumalanga

11

Kelsey Swanepoel

SPAR KZN Mynahs

12

Nompili Thenjwayo

SG Witsies

Team Staff

AJ Spieringshoek (Head Coach)

Brighty Mashaba (Assistant Coach / Video Analyst)

Bridget Kee (Video Analyst)

Nolwazi Nkabinde (Team Manager)