On Tuesday evening, Orange rolled over South Africa like a herd of elephants in the Kruger Park. In Potchefstroom, the Netherlands won in the mutual Pro League match with no less than 1-11 against the current number ten in the world. It was Orange’s biggest win since the 12-0 over Poland during the European Championship of 2013.
Anyone who saw the poster Netherlands – South Africa beforehand could not help but think back to the bizarre duel at the Tokyo Games. In which the Orange squad was 3-0 behind the then number fourteen in the world , lost their way completely, eventually won 5-3, but still left the field as a moral loser.
The internationals who stood between the lines at the time will undoubtedly also have thought back to that pot in the run-up. This Pro League match, however, did nothing to remind of that low point of the Games. Or it must be South Africa’s 1-1 at the start of the second quarter, with defender Joep de Mol letting himself be played out far too easily in the circle by Mustapha Cassiem, one of the teasing ghosts in Japan last summer. He served attacker Nqobile Ntuli, who tied the score behind Blaak.
So it was the only déjà-vu moment for the Dutch Tokyo-goers, because Orange was otherwise lord and master of the university grounds in Potchefstroom. Coach Jeroen Delmée’s team played concentrated in the back, accurate in midfield and created enough opportunities in the front. The latter was still below par in previous games, but against South Africa the full-throttle hockey provided loads of opportunities.
The first was already after two minutes for captain Thierry Brinkman who hit the side plank. Can you still dismiss that ball as a possibility, the chance for Dennis Warmerdam a few minutes later should be described as life-size after a pass from Terrance Pieters. The future Bloemendaler lifted the ball a little too eagerly over the goal.
Within ten minutes it was still 0-1. Steijn van Heijningen soloed over the back line. The HGC player served Koen Bijen, who seemed to score but hit the body of Tyson Dlungwana. penalty ball. With Jip Janssen on the bench, Tim Swaen took advantage of this opportunity to score his first goal in his second international match. Janssen was close to 0-2 just before the end of the first quarter, but the goal post stood in the way of a hit on a rock-hard penalty corner.
Ntuli’s 1-1 visibly sparked some hope in South African hearts. However, it disappeared at the same rate as a portion of fresh grass in an elephant’s throat. First it was Floris Wortelboer who, like Van Heijningen, played a solo over the back line, served club mate Brinkman, who scored the 1-2.
A minute later, the game was actually over. Kampong player Derck de Vilder was allowed to walk freely into the circle. Since no one was attacking him, he rammed the ball into the goal with his backhand. It was 1-3 through the legs of the South African goalie. On the stroke of half-time it was Thijs van Dam who hit the ball completely wrong but still scored (1-4). The apologetic gesture after the goal was telling.
Secretly, the South Africans might have hoped that the Orange would take it easy in the second half after that large lead, but the Netherlands dived like a couple of starving lions on its hopeless prey that was devoured with skin and hair. Jorrit Croon’s 1-5 fell so quickly in the third quarter that the Ziggo television viewers only saw the repeat.
In the remaining part of the game, the Orange squad was able to enjoy themselves and – as far as necessary – work on self-confidence. By successively, Janssen (penalty ball), Swaen (penalty corner), Bijen, Brinkman, Reyenga and Janssen (penalty corner) made it no less than 1-11.
Again, a strange result. Now, however, one that bodes well for the coming days in which the Orange squad will meet France on Wednesday and Sunday and face South Africa again on Saturday in Potchefstroom. Those teams must fear that they will also be overrun by this unleashed Orange.
South Africa – Netherlands 1-11 (1-4)
7. Tim Swaen (sb) 0-1
20. Nqobile Ntuli 1-1
26. Thierry Brinkman 1-2
27. Derck de Vilder 1-3
30. Thijs van Dam (sc) 1-4
31. Jorrit Croon 1-5
46. Jip Janssen (sb) 1-6
47. Tim Swaen (sc) 1-7
49. Koen Bijen 1-8
51. Thierry Brinkman 1-9
54. Tijmen Reijenga 1-10
55. Jip Janssen (sc) 1-11