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Another two for Dirkie

The Investec South Africa women’s hockey team thumped Asian Games champions China 5-0 in the fifth Test match at the Kaspersky Randburg Stadium on Saturday night after leading 2-0 at half-time

Ranked 12th in the world, SA now lead the series 4-1 against fourth ranked China.

Investec Player of the Match Dirkie Chamberlain was inspirational and banged in a brace of goals, while superstar Pietie Coetzee — on 207 goals from 213 internationals going into this clash — was looking to chip away at Natella Krasnikova’s world record of 220 and duly made further inroads into erasing that mark with an effort that beat Chinese goalkeeper Li Ji, who had a very good game despite the scoreline.

Midfielder Tarryn Bright and Shelley Russell got South Africa’s other goals in the finest performance of head coach Giles Bonnet’s team to date in the Investec International Series.

After the first 15 minutes, SA simply never allowed China to play and the superb tackling of the Proteas defenders and midfielders was translated into an avalanche of goals at the other end.

What is so exciting about this Investec SA team is the manner in which the youngsters have upped their game and none more so than Northerns Blues’ irrepressible striker Chamberlain, whose instinct in the circle was unmatched Saturday.

Another notable aspect of the South Africans’ play so far in the series has been their quick reaction when they have lost the ball. Once the ball has been turned over to the opposition, there has almost always been a player available to track back fast enough to be in time for the tackle and in this way they have regularly regained lost possession.

Friday’s Investec Player of the Match, right half Nicolene Terblanche has also made rapid progress in the last two months. A no-nonsense defender, her uncompromising tackling mirrors that of her Northerns Blues team-mate, central defender Kim Hubach and she has the ability to get her side out of sticky situations.
Investec SA face China at 5 pm at Randburg on Sunday. Belgium are up against Azerbaijan at 3 pm.

With that, the curtain closes on the Investec International Series matches in Gauteng and the action returns to the scene of South Africa’s 4-1 series defeat to world champions Argentina, the University of Free State hockey centre.

The first match in Bloemfontein is on Tuesday.

In the day’s first match, Azerbaijan were 2-1 up at half-time and went on to win 3-1.