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GB level series

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Wednesday February 8, 2012

Our national men’s hockey team went down 3-1 to world number four Great Britain in the second Test at Stellenbosch on Tuesday night in a result which sees the three-Test series level at one win apiece.

The decider will be slugged out at Hartleyvale Hockey Stadium in Cape Town on Saturday evening (6pm).

The 2 000-strong SA supporters went into overdrive when the boys in green and gold shot into a 1-0 lead in the 44th minute through KZN Coastal Raiders striker Marvin Harper’s reverse-stick deflection after Western Province captain Andrew Cronje had fired in a cross from the right, but world number 12 South Africa’s joy was short-lived as Great Britain hit back with three strikes inside seven minutes to win the match.

Richard Smith (55th), Harry Martin (57th) and Jonty Clark (61st) were the men who did the damage for GB.

SA had earlier upset Great Britain 5-3 in the eight-goal first-Test extravaganza before a 3 000-strong crowd at Hartleyvale last Friday.

SA head coach Gregg Clark was disappointed with the result but heartened at the manner in which his side has been mixing it with a world top four team during the last two matches.

GB scored three goals when they were down to 10 men while their first two goals, within 90 seconds off each other, let them off the hook.

“But for the fourth-ranked team in the world to have to dig so deep to beat the world’s 12th-ranked team means we are really happy with what we are doing at the moment,” said Clark.

GB scored one penalty corner, a field goal emanating from the baseline and a third via a counter-attack, and Clark felt two of those opportunities might have been prevented had SA managed the situation better.

“The guys are really disappointed but credit to GB, they were marginally better in the second half.”

SA now play top Dutch club Pinoke of Amsterdam at 7pm at Hartleyvale on Thursday before tackling GB in the final Test at the same venue at 6pm on Saturday, while the second clash with Pinoke at midday Sunday wraps up the Western Cape international series.

9 Feb SA v Pinoke at Hartleyvale (7pm)

11 Feb SA v GB at Hartleyvale (6pm)

12 Feb SA v Pinoke at Hartleyvale (12 noon)

Rassie Pieterse, Lance Louw, Clint Panther, Thornton McDade (all Southern Gauteng); Andrew Cronje, Austin Smith (capt), Ian Haley, Lloyd Norris-Jones (all Western Province); Brendon Botes (Eastern Province); Justin Reid-Ross, Rhett Halkett, Jonty Robinson (all Northern Blues); Wade Paton, Lloyd Madsen, Gareth Carr, Tim Drummond, Marvin Harper (KZN Coastal Raiders); Julian Hykes (Amathole-Border). Head coach: Gregg Clark. Assistant coach: Kurt Cerfontyne.

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