The inaugural FIH Hockey5s World Cup got underway in Muscat, Oman on Wednesday. South Africa had two pool matches to navigate starting with Zambia in the morning session and Australia in the afternoon.
In the morning game South Africa avenged their loss to Zambia at the African qualifier with some superb style. Led superbly by captain Toni Marks the team attacked from the off creating several chances. The skipper herself opened the scoring with a reaction strike under the keeper. Kriekie van Wyk doubled the score with a goal from distance before Marks made it three with a superb strike from a tight angle. Zambia managed to pull one back from a speculative long-range shot, but the South Africans made it 4-1 at the half-time break through Rea Phume.
Grace Cochrane saved a penalty stroke and Dirkie Chamberlain punished the Zambians with a second into the bottom corner. Shindre-Lee Simmons, Rea Phume and Kriekie van Wyk made it 8-1 collectively, while Toni Marks completed her hat-trick to round off a very impressive opening victory. It also marked South Africa’s largest international hockey5s victory so far.
Hockey5s, much like Rugby Sevens, is built around fast paced action and quick turnarounds. Six hours later the South Africans had the chance to secure passage to the Quarter Finals when they took on the old enemy Australia.
The South Africans produced a swashbuckling opening and almost opened through Izelle Cilliers. But the goal would come early on. Dirkie Chamberlain picked up the ball off the rebound ball and fired into the bottom right corner.
The lead was doubled not long after. South Africa were awarded a challenge for a deliberate foot and Kriekie van Wyk made no mistake. It was all South Africa in the early stages, but the Australians started to settle into the contest. South Africa were unlucky not to be awarded a penalty stroke and Australia fired in a long-range effort to bring it back to 2-1. Grace Cochrane saved a challenge and it remained 2-1 at half time.
South Africa were superb in the second half and stretched their lead. Rea Phume fired it from just inside the half and evaded everything into the bottom corner. Kriekie van Wyk produced a calm finish to stretch it further to 4-1 before Toni Marks had some remarkable aerial skills to make it 5-1. South Africa would strike again as Chamberlain diverted it home.
Australia would take some gloss off the score line with two late goals, but the win was confirmed, and the South Africans secured a spot in the Quarter Final ahead of their final group game against Ukraine on Thursday.
by South Africa