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The Premier Hockey League (PHL) is an exciting new hockey format, created to transform the sport in South Africa – from an interest, participation & performance perspective.

It was a somewhat disappointed South Africa men’s hockey team that left the field after the 4-7 loss to Belgium.

It was the penultimate match for the SA men in the Cape Town Summer Series.

Jonty Robinson got the scoreboard going with a penalty in the 10th minute to put the home team in the lead.

With less than a minute left in the first chukka Belgium got the goal back when Amaury Keusters found the back of the net. The South Africans would have been disappointed with this goal, because it was so close to the end of the chukka.

A blitzkrieg of three goals in three minutes took the wind a bit out of the South African sails in the second quarter. Maxime Plennevaux, Loïck Luypaert and Alexandre de Paeuw all got their names on the scorecard. The score was 4-1 at halftime.

The third chukka belonged completely to Belgium and South Africa’s goalkeeper Gowan Jones with the help of especially Daniel Bell, Rhett Halkett and captain Tim Drummond had to defend wave after wave of Belgium attacks. Two more goals were scored. Captain Thomas Briels and Plennevaux added to the scoreline.

With the start of the last chukka the score was 6-2 for Belgium after Bili Ntuli scored SA’s second goal mere seconds before the whistle blew. In the last quarter Dimitri Cuvelier added another goal for Belgium. In the last three minutes Brandon Panther and Drummond scored for South Africa to give the crowd something to cheer about again.

Belgium has a deadly counter-attack and they play with so much control. Especially when they were on the attack. It looks like they have all the time in the world. That is in contrast with South Africa who looked rushed.

Once again the South African youngsters showed promise though. Ntuli had some brilliant moments and Ryan Julius is so quick that it sometimes looked like the Belgium players were standing still when they tried to follow him. Daniel Bell was great on the defence for the home team.

Earlier China won its match against Belgium. China’s women were 2-1 winners in a very tight match. Qianqian Boa scored the winning goal for China in the 60th minute after the scores were tide 1-1 at halftime. Bingfeng Gu scored the first goal of the match and Belgium’s Lisa Scheerlinck equalised the score in the 27th minute.

The next match in the Summer Series is on Thursday at 16:00 when the South African men will be in action for the last time in the series – the third and last match against Belgium. The series comes to an end on Friday when the SA women play against Belgium at 18:00.