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SA crush Canada

South Africa got their BDO Champions Challenge hockey tournament back on track in Salta, Argentina Tuesday with a 4-1 victory over Canada.

This after having gone down 6-2 to the host country in Sunday’s first round. Against Canada, we led 1-0 at halftime before slotting in another three in the second half.

The first goal came from Wade Paton and then Gareth Carr, Justin Reid-Ross and Ian Haley wrapped things up for the South Africans.

Our next opponents are Pakistan on Thursday evening.

Team captain Austin Smith was understandably happy that his side bounced back so emphatically. “What a match! We don’t seem to have dull matches against Canada. The last time we met, back in July for the final of the Four Nations tournament in Russia, we hammered them 8-1. It was however a depleted side which we beat. The time before that when we played them at the Beijing Olympics during the play-off stages the match was also fraught with controversy. The umpires issued a red card as well as numerous yellows.

“Today’s match proved to be much of the same. We started slowly, making a number of simple mistakes and seemed well off the pace but we did well to keep out Canada’s early chances. I’m pleased that despite our poor start we still managed to keep them goalless. A crucial aspect when you aren’t playing well is keeping goals out, and taking the few chances which you create.’

Smith said it was in the second half that things turned ugly for Canada. “They earned themselves four yellows and two greens for umpire abuse, hitting players (which should surely have been a red) and poor tackles. It meant that we played against 10 players for the majority of the half. The problem was compounded for Canada by the new rule which we are experimenting with at the tournament. A player who is shown a green card has to leave the field for two minutes.

“So, three penalty corners, three goals! It could have been more, and probably should have as the game deteriorated rapidly in the last five minutes.

“We defended Canada’s short corners extremely well, and I’m proud of our work in this area of the field. It’s such an important part of the game and with the coming threat of Sohail Abbas for Pakistan it stands us in good stead!

“All in all a great performance and we look forward to producing more of the same against Pakistan on Thursday, and earning a place in Saturday’s semi final.”

Pakistan also lost to the host country Argentina, going down 3-1 on Tuesday. That result puts South Africa second in their group and if they beat or draw with Pakistan they’ll go through to the semi on goal difference.”

In the other pool, India beat China and New Zealand beat Belgium both ending 4-1.