The Supergroup South African ladies side gave themselves the front foot in securing top spot in Pool B at the FIH Hockey Series Final with a dominant 7-0 win against Thailand on Saturday morning. With Wales starting the day tie on points with the South Africans, they would have to wait on the result of the later game to know their fate but went about doing everything they could to put all the pressure back on the Europeans.

Particularly pleasing for Robin van Ginkel and Inky Zondi would be the way the experienced players have stepped up into on field leaders in this tournament. This dynamic has allowed the younger and newer players like Nomnikelo Veto and Bianca Wood to develop at a quicker pace, putting South Africa in a better position going forward.

Dirkie Chamberlain has rediscovered form that allayed fears when Pietie Coetzee retired, while Lilian du Plessis looks more in the mood than ever and offers a fantastic threat from the penalty corner. With Quanita Bobbs also looking as good as she has ever looked in a South African kit, the job for Erin Hunter gets easier as players raise each other’s games.

Today it was Thailand that were on the receiving end of a team playing at a fantastic pace and with ruthless switches form defence to attack. In total Supergroup South Africa recorded 20 shots at goal in the 60 minutes with a whopping 42 circle entries, limiting Thailand to just 3. 

After a slow opening quarter where Lilian du Plessis fired in the solitary goal from penalty corner, the intensity was raised another level and South Africa got a second and a third in the second quarter to make it 3-0 at the interval. Nomnikelo Veto has relished the opportunity and is undoubtedly doing her best to make it count and scored South Africa’s second before Dirkie Chamberlain showed fantastic composure to make it 3-0.

Once again South Africa produced their best hockey of the game in the third quarter where they looked like scoring with every attack. Veto set up Chamberlain for the fourth before a penalty stroke was awarded to South Africa and Du Plessis made it five despite keeper Narueangram getting a glove onto the shot. Quanita Bobbs then got the goal her performance deserved after re-joining from an interesting green card suspension.

Although Supergroup South Africa backed off on the pace in the final quarter they were still creating some good chances and will probably feel they should have taken one or two more there. They did however add the shine to the result with the 7th when Lisa Deetlefs finished when her penalty corner slap was diverted in by Tonghkam.

Looking back at the group stage the South Africans will be very pleased with how they have started the tournament. They have done what they have had to, but the focus will now ratchet up a gear as they head to the knock out matches and attempt to set a foot firmly on the Road to Tokyo.

South Africa 7 (Du Plessis 3’ & 37’, Veto 23’, Chamberlain 29’ & 33’ & Deetlefs 60’)
Thailand 0

With Italy defeating Wales in the later game, South Africa have confirmed their spot at the top of Pool B and they will progress directly to the Semi-Final stage. They will play the winner of the crossover game between Wales and whoever finishes second in Pool A. South Africa’s semi-final will be at 19:00 on Wednesday night and will be live streamed on FIH.Live

Pictures  – FHCV

After their opening stalemate the South Africans were looking to produce a display that laid down a marker in the FIH Hockey Series Final in Valencia. To do that they would play Italy, a team that finished ahead of them at the 2018 FIH Hockey World Cup.

Celia Evans was celebrating her 150th cap for the country. This would serve as a powerful motivator for the Supergroup South African side as a little over a year ago the 2016 Player of the Year tore her knee ligaments and had to endure the rehab and recovery to come back to the top. If ever there was a player who embodied the team motto, shared by Supergroup CEO Peter Mountford, Make It Count, you would find it hard pressed to name anyone other than Celia.

Having started the opening game against Wales as tentative as a learner driver on their first class, there was no such thought tonight as they worked about Making it Count against a very good Italian side. The pace and focussed aggression, hallmarks of Robin van Ginkel’s sides, was incredibly pleasing and although the game was even in the opening half the was a sense of inevitability when South Africa broke the deadlock on the verge of the break.

Bianca Wood has risen through the ranks for South Africa, she has starred for the SA U18’s and competed in the Youth Olympic games. Speaking on Rayder Media’s Hockey 24 Seven podcast recently she spoke of dreaming of playing for the country since she was 5 years old. Given the opportunity now at the tender age of 19, the youngest in the team, she is determined to make it count. She did in the 30th minute when a superb through ball from Lisa Deetlefs picked her up in the D, she turned inside her defender and fired into the top left corner with a finish that Pietie Coetzee would have been proud of. Bianca Wood. Remember the name.

The perfect time can be before a break as it can knock the wind out your opponents sails but also give you that little extra spark into the next phase of the game. And once again this was the quarter that Supergroup South Africa dominated the most. That domination produced 6 circle entries to just 1 for the Italians, but more importantly the second goal for South Africa.

 One of the least experienced opened the scoring for South Africa but it was the other end of the experience cauldron that made it 2-0. Kristen Paton superbly intercepted a lofted through ball just in the SA half, she broke up through the middle laying off to Tarryn Glasby who waited and the weighted the perfect pass through to Dirkie Chamberlain. Having scored more than 100 International goals already, Chamberlain was never going to miss and made it count with a superb finish.

Italy did produce a late fight back with a superb final quarter which saw them win five penalty corners and more shots at goal than in the first three quarters combined. Italy pulled one back with 9 minutes remaining through a well worked penalty corner variation finished by Eugenia Bianchi. Italy continued to surge forward after that, but the South Africans were fantastic and resolute in defence and held on to a fantastic victory.

Next up South Africa take on Thailand on Saturday at 11:00. With Wales and Italy only playing afterwards South Africa will look to win convincingly to steer ourselves straight into the semi-finals on Wednesday.

Supergroup South Africa 2 (Wood 30’ & Chamberlain 42’)
Italy 1 (Bianchi 52’)

Pictures - FHCV and Hockey 24 Seven

The South African women started their FIH Hockey Series Final with a stutter as they drew 2-2 with Wales in their opening pool game. The South Africans, featuring four new caps, started the game somewhat apprehensively, while the Welsh, who can’t qualify for the Olympics due to England being selected as Great Britain’s qualifying applicant, started a little more positively.

The first quarter was a typical opening quarter of a tournament as both teams were tentative in their approach and created few chances and circle entries. It was hardly surprising that the score was 0-0 at the end of the quarter.

The game exploded into life in the second quarter as Wales raised the tempo and won a penalty corner which Sian French unceremoniously slapped into the bottom left corner, leaving an unsighted Phumi Mbande with no chance. Supergroup South Africa were stunned and frustrated as they dominated the possession for the remainder of the half with little to show for their efforts.

What will please Robin van Ginkel and his coaching staff is the third quarter performance. Supergroup South Africa came out from the break with a renewed vigour and determination and after creating three penalty corners Lilian du Plessis fired in a superb drag flick to level the score. South Africa with the bit between the teeth pushed for the go-ahead goal which duly arrived later in the quarter. South Africa won another penalty corner and Lisa Deetlefs slap was brilliantly diverted in by Quanita Bobbs.

What will disappoint van Ginkel was the team not finishing off the victory from there as they allowed Wales back into the game in a dominant quarter for the Europeans. They levelled from a slip penalty corner variation and a Leah Wilkinson slap.

That was the last of the goal scoring as both teams repelled any last chances for their oppositions and ultimately settled for one point in their Pool B opener, sharing second spot behind Italy who beat Thailand 7-0 in the other pool game.

South Africa next take on the Italians tomorrow night at 19:00 with the game streamed live on FIH.Live.

South Africa 2 (du Plessis 33’ & Bobbs 41’)
Wales 2 (French 19’ & Wilkinson 49’)

PICTURES - FHCV

No sooner had the dust settled on the FIH Hockey Series Finals in India than South African hockey eyes switched to Spain for the Valencia based Hockey Series Final. The tournament is a Road to Tokyo Olympic Qualifying event, where the top 2 teams progress to the Olympic Qualifying Matches later this year.

For South Africa’s Hockey Women, there is the added incentive that SASCOC will be using the event as a measure on the competitiveness of the side for inclusion in the Tokyo Olympics, with the goal of a top 2 finish to keep Olympic dreams alive.

Before they headed off to Spain, the team were given a fantastic send off by Supergroup at Bryanston Country Club, where Supergroup CEO Peter Mountford urged the team to take the opportunity and “Make it Count!” This has quickly become a mantra for the team ahead of the tournament with #MakeItCount featuring prominently in the individual’s social media profiles.

Supergroup South Africa have been in Spain for almost a week preparing for the tournament that starts tomorrow. It’s the first major tournament for Robin van Ginkel as head coach as well as the first for the team under the leadership of Erin Hunter. The beginning of the process offers exciting opportunity and the likes of Bianca Woods, Hannah Pearce, Nomnikelo Veto and Robyn Johnson will look to take full opportunity after recently making their debuts.

South Africa will open their tournament with a game against Wales today at 17:00. They will then take on Italy at 19:00 tomorrow before ending off the group stage against Thailand on Saturday at 11:00. The team that finishes first in the pool will progress straight to the semi-finals while 2nd and 3rd will move to the Quarter Final stage.

The Italians will prove a tough encounter after their impressive showing at the World Cup last year where they made it to the crossover stage. Roberta Carta is a fantastic coach who oversaw victories over China and Korea at the World cup and with Chiara Tiddi they have superb experience in the camp as they look to qualify for the Olympic Games for the first time.

Wales earned their place in this tournament by finishing third at the FIH Open Series in Lithuania. Although they cannot qualify for the Olympic Games due to England being the nominated country Great Britain’s Olympic Qualification pathway, the ranking points up for grabs will be enough motivation for the Welsh squad.

The last team in the South African pool are Thailand who finished second at the FIH Open Series in Malaysia. Kornkanok Sanpoung showed her goalscoring prowess in that competition and will be pivotal if Bae Young Wook’s team are to cause an upset in Spain.

In the other pool the hosts Spain are joined by Canada, coached Giles Bonnet the ex-South African coach, Belarus and fellow African side Namibia.

You can stream all the games at FIH Live. The links for each game in the group stage is below:

FIH Hockey Series Finals – South African Fixtures

19 June - Supergroup SA vs. Wales – https://fih.live/view/event/48845
20 June - Supergroup SA vs. Italy - https://fih.live/view/event/48848
22 June - Supergroup SA vs. Thailand - https://fih.live/view/event/48948
24 June – Crossovers
26 June – Semi-Finals
27 June – Final

Supergroup South Africa Squad

Erin Hunter (captain), Phumi Mbande (Vice-captain) (GK), Stephanie Baxter, Quanita Bobbs, Kara Botes, Dirkie Chamberlain, Lisa Deetlefs, Lilian du Plessis, Celia Evans, Tarryn Glasby, Robyn Johnson, Marizen Marais, Mmathshepo Modipane (GK), Kristen Paton, Hannah Pearce, Izelle Verster, Nomnikelo Veto, Bianca Wood

Pictures - Hockey 24 Seven / Rayder Media

(9 May 1931 - 8 June 2019)

Audrey, widow of Stan and beloved mother of Mark, Kerry and Craig, passed away in hospital on 8 June 2019. She never recovered fully from a hip replacement procedure in June of 2018 and although she remained fiercely determined, she unfortunately lost much of her independence in the last year of her life.

She was born in Pietermaritzburg and attended Pietermaritzburg Girls’ High School. As a schoolgirl she displayed an amazing natural hockey talent. After matriculating, Audrey soon represented Pietermaritzburg and the Natal Women’s teams as she was regarded as an outstanding young player. She captained these teams from 1957 until she retired. In her early twenties she was an automatic selection to the National Team, and represented South Africa in 1953, 1954, 1956, 1959, and 1963. (She was unavailable for selection in 1961.) In 1959 and 1963 Audrey’s leadership skills were recognised and she was named as Captain of the South African Women’s Hockey Team. She announced her retirement at the end of the 1963 season, at the pinnacle of her success.  She had just led South Africa to a famous 3-1 victory over England, in front of 65,000 spectators at the Wembley Soccer Stadium, in London; this was indeed the highlight of her career.

Not only was Audrey an excellent hockey player, who incidentally never stopped working at her skills, but she was respected as a great human being and was popular both on and off the field. She was admired, for her outstanding achievements and excellent qualities, by all who knew her.

Audrey was a tireless administrator, during her playing years and after her retirement as a player. She was a Provincial and National Selector from 1965 until 1975. In 1970 she held the position of Manager of the South African Women’s Team.

Her sense of fun and her humour, at all times, were unrivalled. She was a beautiful and loving friend. We were privileged to have her in our lives, and as her friends and members of the hockey fraternity, we join together to mourn the loss of a great friend. Rest in peace, Auds.

Shelagh Bowness

(Life-time friend and team mate: Natal: 1958-1974; South Africa: 1969, 1971, 1973, 1974 (Capt); National Umpire and Selector)

Its objectives achieved from the series for SuperGroup South Africa as they sealed a series whitewash with their best performance of the three games in a dominant 8-0 victory. Coach Robin van Ginkel had asked for more ruthlessness to the attack and a better conversion rate of the penalty corners and he got exactly that.

After a tentative opening quarter, in which South Africa for the third game in a row took a 1-0 lead into the break, thanks this time to Kara Botes from a PC, the South Africans continued to grind through the gears and in bits and pieces started to produce the moments of play that will make Robin, Inky and the management team extremely happy.

The game also saw Tegan Fourie, a non-travelling reserve for the FIH Open Series Finals, given her first test cap. Tegan is an International for SPAR South Africa in the indoor and will play for them later this week, but there was a great sense of excitement in seeing her in action for the first time for the national team.

Something that will impress the management team greatly was that the 8 goals scored were from 7 different goal scorers, including Nicky Veto and Izelle Verster getting their first goals for the country, alongside Quanita Bobbs, Lisa Deetlifs, Celia Evans, Izelle Verster and Dirkie Chamberlain. But for a few good saves from Petro Stoffberg and the post twice denying the South Africans it may have been an even bigger scoreline.  

Another thing that will make Robin and his team quite happy is the way the experienced players like Deetlefs and Bobbs have blended so well with the new crop making their debuts.

Five new caps, 3 Clean Sheets and 11 unanswered goals will give the team a good positive feeling when they leave for Spain in two weeks. They will be looking for more of the same as they take on Thailand, Italy and Wales in Pool B at the FIH Hockey Series Finals from the 19-27 June 2019.

SuperGroup South Africa vs. Namibia Series Results

Test 1 – SA 1-0 NAM
Test 2 – SA 2-0 NAM
Test 3 – SA 8-0 NAM

Photo – Robert Swanepoel / Run Ride Dive – Not for reuse

 

On Africa Day there was a celebration of African hockey as SuperGroup South Africa and Namibia took each other on in the second test at Randburg Astro. After winning the opening game 1-0, the hosts were looking to entertain the crowd and seal the series.

Namibia employed the same game plan that had worked effectively in the opening game by defending with all 11 players behind the ball, while for large periods of time South Africa shifted the ball looking for gaps in the defence. They were also looking to build on the combinations and try a few new things ahead of the FIH Open Series Finals in Spain in June.

South Africa took a 1-0 lead through a superb tomahawk strike by Lilian du Plessis in the first chukka but had to wait nearly 50 minutes for the second when Tarryn Glasby diverted the ball through Petro Stoffberg’s legs. That touch by Glasby was imperative to beat the Namibian keeper.

SuperGroup South Africa, playing in their reverse white Grays South Africa kits, were hardly troubled throughout the game, keeping Namibia down to one early chance with neither Mmatshepo Modipane or Phumelela Mbande in goal having to make any saves.

Tonight, the teams will play for the third game and the South Africans will look to be a little more lethal in front of the goals, as they left far too many opportunities out on the turf. There will be many positives for van Ginkel already with Celia Evans return from injury that saw her miss the FIH world Cup, a massive highlight alongside the form of Kristen Paton and Lilian du Plessis.

The third and final test between the women’s side is at Randburg Astro at 19:30 and will be live streamed by Shoott South Africa through their Facebook Page.

Image - Robert Swanepoel / Run Ride Dive - Not for reuse

It was a largely tentative opening affair as African neighbours South Africa, proudly sponsored by SuperGroup, and Namibia took each other on in the first of three test matches at Randburg Astro. There was a large element of excitement in the air as it was the first international hockey played by the South African Women at home since 2017. To give the excitement of the hockey public context, Kristen Paton has played for South Africa at the African Cup, Commonwealth Games and World Cup, but this was her first test match at home.

Along with KP’s first home game it also marked the test debuts for Hannah Pearce, Nomnikelo “Nicky” Veto, Robyn Johnson and the youngster in the team Bianca Wood. Alongisde that Robin van Ginkel and Inky Zondi headed up the team for the first time and Erin Hunter captained for the first time.

Their opposition would be a determined Namibian side featuring several the African Indoor Champions, also preparing for their own trip to Spain. Their coach Erwin Handura, also coach of the indoor side, was determined to limit their opposition chances and set up with a very defensive game plan.

South Africa, wearing their splendid new Grays Hockey kit, looked to impress the crowd at Randburg as well as the number of people watching at home on the Shoott South Africa platform, started the better and controlled the game with a low amount of effort up front. With Namibia sitting very deep South Africa, were able to hold sustained periods of possession and were able to break up the play professionally whenever Namibia countered.

South Africa got the only goal of the game when captain Erin Hunter pounced on a goal mouth scramble after an initial shot at target was saved by the superb Petro Stoffberg in goal for the Namibians. Had it not been for some fine saves from Stoffberg the South Africans would probably have won the game more convincingly, but credit must go to Namibia for the resolute defensive display.

The teams take each other on twice on Saturday as the short series comes to an end.

Image courtesy of SA Womens Hockey Instagram Page

The Mens and Womens Test series between South Africa and Namibia at Randburg Astro played tonight will be streamed live from the venue. SA Hockey have partnered with SHOOTT, a fully automated to live stream the games. The game will be available on the Shoott South Africa Facebook page. Click Here 

With both teams playing at home for the first time in 2019 and with eye on the FIH Open Series Final there will be great anticipation on the peformance and how the teams combinations and processes work under the new structures.

We thank Southern Gauteng for organising this and are excited to have SHOOTT on board with us for the series! 

The first test match is tonight at 19:00

 

 

All hockey loving eyes will divert to Randburg Astro turf tonight and this weekend as Supergroup South Africa’s Women’s Hockey team take on Namibia in a three match test series. The series marks a lot of significant firsts for South Africa. It will be the first test match as head coach for Robin van Ginkel, the first test match for Erin Hunter and Phumelela Mbande as captain and vice-captain respectively and it also offers Bianca Woods, Hannah Pearce, Robyn Johnson and Nikki Veto their first caps for the national team.

The test series offers van Ginkel and his coaching staff a valuable opportunity to try out a few combinations ahead of the FIH Open Series Final in Valencia, it also offers the team an opportunity to give the South African hockey public a rare glimpse of national hockey on home soil.

Their opponents will be far from a pushover having qualified for the Valencia showpiece themselves in a tough tournament in Zimbabwe recently. They also have a host of players who shone in South African Club hockey including Petro Stoffberg and Gillian Hermanus, while Maggie Mengo will be influential alongside Jerrica Bartlett (Cormack). With both sides using the series as preparation for Spain, you can bet that it will be anything other than a boring friendly.

“This series could not come at a better time, its our first home test since World League in 2017. We love playing in front of our South African fans. We have some exciting new caps coming in and offers a few players and opportunity to get back into the fold. Its an important series towards our preparation for Spain. Its also been great for team cohesion off the field and there is a great bond in the team. We can wait to play this series and make South Africa proud!” shared Phumelela Mbande.

Supergroup South Africa will leave for Spain on the 13 June and will take on Wales, Italy and Thailand in Pool B. The goal for the tournament will be to finish in the top 2 to keep Olympic Qualification opportunities alive.

South Africa vs. Namibia Test Series Fixtures

24 May 2019 – 19:00
25 May 2019 – 11:15
25 May 2019 – 19:00

Supergroup South Africa Squad

Tegan Fourie, Celia Evans, Izelle Verster, Marizen Marais, Kristen Paton, Robyn Johnson, Kara Botes, Dirkie Chamberlain, Lisa Deetlefs, Nikki Veto, Erin Hunter (c), Hannah Pearce, Lilian du Plessis, Phumelela Mbande (GK)(VC), Quanita Bobbs, Tarryn Glasby, Bianca Wood and Mmatshepo Modipane.

Gill Doig (Team Manager), Robin van Ginkel (Head Coach), Inky Zondi (Assistant Coach), Cindy Nel (Physio), Taren Naidoo (Trainer) and Wayne Hendricks (Video Analyst).

All games take place at Randburg Astro and entry is R10.