The inaugural FIH Hockey5s World Cup is flying past, and the group stage has already met its conclusion. South Africa and Ukraine both took to the field with two wins out of two on day one and their battle was one for top spot.
It was the South Africans who rocketed out the gates and produced a remarkable spell scoring four goals in six minutes to canter into a significant lead. Toni Marks tapped home to give the team a 1-0 lead and Dirkie Chamberlain scored when she bounced the ball off the wall onto the keeper’s kicker and into the back of the net.
It kept getting better for the Africans when Teshawn de la Ray produced a wonderful run and finish to make it 3-0. And before the half-time break the South Africans made it 4. Toni Marks made a superb run-in front of the keeper and diverted it home. 4-0 at the half-time break.
The second half did not have to wait long for its first goal. Dirkie Chamberlain was awarded a penalty stroke and the Olympian fired home to stretch the lead again. Ukraine pulled a goal back. Shokalenko running around Cochrane and pulling it back into the net. Ukraine would have their last scoring action when the ball bobbled home to make it 5-2. It took the South Africans just 20 seconds to re-instate the four-goal lead. Chamberlain firing home from an acute angle with tremendous power to secure her hat-trick. Sealing a remarkable 6-2 win for the South Africans and the top spot in the group.
The team are now the fourth South African team to qualify for a Quarter Final of an FIH World Cup matching the achievements of the SA Junior Women’s team in Potchefstroom in 2022, as well as the men’s and women’s indoor teams at the FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup in Pretoria in 2023. It also allows the team the opportunity to dream of matching, and possibly beating, the achievements of the SPAR South Africa indoor hockey team at the indoor world cup where they finished fourth after losing the semi-finals.
The South Africans will face Malaysia in the Quarter Finals after the Asians held on to a 4-4 draw to eliminate Fiji on goal difference. The game is available to stream on Watch.Hockey exclusively and will be at 08:20 South African time on Friday.
by South Africa