The score of 2-6 does not do justice to the efforts of the South African men's hockey team against the Netherlands in their first match of the Summer Series.
This is the first time in 12 months that the South Africans played international hockey. Holland was fourth at the Olympics and is currently third on the world rankings.
South Africa had good moments and if the players could have managed to sustain this good constructive place for longer periods of time, the score could have been much different. With six minutes remaining the score was 4-2. The last time these two teams played the Dutch won with almost two handfuls of goals.
“It was a positive match for us if you take into consideration that is has been 12 months since our last international series. We did ourselves a good service against a world-class team and played a competitive match. We did let ourselves down with regards to discipline, but it is something we can rectify and comeback better from,” said SA captain Tim Drummond.
The halftime score was 2-0 for the visitors after goals from Thierry Brinkman and Mirco Pruijser. Both goals were scored in the second quarter. The first half was largely dominated by the Netherlands. There were moments of good play by the South Africans, but they could not, like the Netherlands apply it continuously for long periods of time.
Holland's first goal had become after more than three minutes of continual attacks and pressure on the South African defence in the goal circle. The second goal came just a few minutes later.
The home team scored a minute after the start of the third quarter. Jonty Robinson’s goal narrowed the gap to a single goal. Tristan Allegra scored soon after though from a penalty corner to stretch the Dutch lead again. The crowd was on their feet in the 37th minute when Gareth Heyns hit the back of the net for South Africa’s second goal.
The final quarter, however, again belonged to the Netherlands with goals from Bob de Voogd, Jip Janssen and Pruijser.
Drummond and his team would be concerned about the amount of penalty corners they conceded. “It was far too many for sure, but once again we will get better.”
The next match in the series is Wednesday when the South African women's team play against China and the men take on the Netherlands again.