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Dirkie nets twice as SA draw with Australia

In an entertaining encounter, the world’s 11th-ranked Investec South Africa women’s hockey team and world number four Australia drew 3-3 in Cape Town on Wednesday in the first of three Test matches between the two sides at Hartleyvale Stadium this week.

South Africa scored through Dirkie Chamberlain (2) and Pietie Coetzee while Emily Smith, Jodie Schulz and Brooke Peris got on the scoresheet for the Aussies. The halftime score was 1-1.

After early sparring that saw entries into both strike zones, South Africa’s Shelley Russell fed Dirkie Chamberlain in the 13th minute, who finished with a precise backhand shot into the far corner for her 49th Test match goal.

SA’s Kathleen Taylor and Georgia Nanscawen of Australia both got in shots on goal before ‘keeper Phume Mbande saved well from Ana Flanagan at the first penalty corner of the match.

Both sides were moving the ball with effect left and right as well as down the channels and in the 26th skipper Marsha Cox fired in a cross from the right that led to SA’s first PC, Taylor’s effort blocked by Hockeyroos keeper Ashlee Wells.

Five minutes before half-time Pietie Coetzee’s shot was adequately dealt with by Wells but in the 32nd minute SA failed to clear the ball out of the danger zone and Edwina Bone and Jane Claxton combined before Emily Smith equalised from close.

Pictured, right: SA’s Shelley Russel heads down the touchline with Ana Flanagan in hot pursuit. Picture: ACTION PIX

In the last minute of the half (34th) SA won their second PC and the upshot was a Coetzee reverse-stick effort that was cleared.

Four minutes after the changeover Coetzee unleashed a strike at goal but a neat slip pass from Flanagan to Schulz on the left from the Aussies’ second PC saw the Hockeyroos take the lead after 45 minutes.ÔÇ¿ÔÇ¿SA equalised with their third PC six minutes later (51st) when Coetzee went low to the keeper’s right (2-2), this after striker Lilian du Plessis had done the hard work down the left to earn the set-piece opportunity. It was the world record holder’s 277th goal in her 276th Test match.

In the 58th minute the crowd came alight when Chamberlain scored her 50th goal in her 149th Test match after sterling work by the tireless Cox for SA to go 3-2 up.

SA then earned three PCs in a row which the Aussie defence kept out. The Hockeyroos worked their way out of the deep and Ashleigh Nelson hit the post before Brooke Peris made the equaliser with five minutes left (65th) for the 3-3 final score.

SA now meet Australia’s Hockeyroos in the second Test at Hartleyvale on Friday (7pm) before the third international takes place on Saturday (4pm). A six-Test series starts for the South Africans against Belgium on Sunday.

This series forms part of the 11-match Hartleyvale Summer Series that also includes Belgium, and which runs until 3 February. The Netherlands beat SA 2-0 in their short series that took place last Saturday and Monday.

Australia (1) 3 (Emily Smith 32nd minute, Jodie Schulz 45th, Brooke Peris 65th)
Investec South Africa (1) 3 (Dirkie Chamberlain 13th and 58th minutes, Pietie Coetzee 51st).

Investec South Africa: Marcelle Manson (n├®e Keet), Quanita Bobbs, Kelly Madsen, Sulette Damons, Bernie Coston, Marsha Cox (capt), Pietie Coetzee, Shelley Russell, Tarryn Bright, Lilian du Plessis, Kathleen Taylor, Phume Mbande, Hanli Hattingh, Illse Davids, Dirkie Chamberlain, Lenise Marais, Nicolene Terblanche, Kaila Flemming.

Australia: Georgia Nanscawen, Brooke Peris, Casey Eastham (capt), Ashlee Wells, Kirsten Johnson, Jodie Schulz, Ashleigh Nelson, Anna Flanagan, Karrie McMahon, Edwina Bone, Emily Hurtz, Jane Claxton, Jayde Taylor, Kate Jenner, Mariah Williams, Emily Smith, Rachael Lynch, Mathilda Carmichael.ÔÇ¿Umpires: Michelle Joubert (South Africa) and Alecia Newman (Australia).