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SA sides both go down in Summer Series

Wednesday proved to be a tough day at the Summer Series office for the national men’s and women’s sides at Hartleyvale, Cape Town.

Both sides will be disappointed with the amount of goals they conceded in their matches as the men went down 7-1 to the Netherlands, and the women lost 5-2 to China.

In the men’s match Bili Ntuli almost scored in the first minute of the match, but while the crowd were still wondering about how awesome that goal would have been, the visitors were all too soon leading 2-0.

But the crowd were soon on their feet again when captain Tim Drummond scored from a penalty corner to make the score 1-2.

Milan van Baal (2), Rik van Kan, Bjorn Kellerman, Mirco Pruijser and Bram van Groesen (2) scored Holland’s goals. Captain Max Caldas’ team played with lots of confidence and structure and made it all look so easy. This was in contrast to the South Africans who struggled to find any real rhythm and get going in attack.

The players were clearly frustrated and obviously disappointed.

Earlier in the evening the South African women’s team fought a good fight against China – at halftime the score was 1-1 and with only one quarter to go it was 3-2.

There was some discussion between players and umpires after China’s second goal, but no change to the decision was made.

South Africa strike back immediately though with a superb goal from Sulette Damons to deal in the best possible way with the disappointment. The other goal was scored from a great turnover and Candice Manuel hit the back of the goal-box.

China’s goals were scored by Bingfeng Gu, Lihua Goa, Xiaoxue Zhang, Xiaomei Sun and Ming Xiao Song.

It was a big milestone day for Lillan du Plessis who played in her 100th match for South Africa.

South Africa will be disappointed with the score-line and the fact that they conceded some soft goals in that final quarter. All in all, coach Sheldon Rostron’s team did much more right that wrong. They got some penalty corners and forced China into a few mistakes.

Now the players need to focus on those finishing touches that will turn good play into better opportunities and goals.

The next matches in the series are Friday at 6pm when the SA women take on Chile.

This match is followed by what could be an epic clash between Belgium and the Netherlands. It should be a cracking game between the silver medallists from Rio and third best team in the world. It will be Belgium’s first game in the Summer Series.


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