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Proteas’ mixed feelings

The South African men’s hockey team go into their international match against top Dutch club Pinoke at Hartleyvale Hockey Stadium, Cape Town on Thursday night intent on producing a high-quality brand of play that will deliver a positive result in a match full of mixed feelings.

The mixed feelings in the game (7pm start) come about as two SA players, KZN Coastal Raiders captain Lloyd Madsen and Northern Blues kingpin Justin Reid-Ross also turn out for Pinoke in the Hoofdklasse in Holland, the best club league in world hockey.

There are other mixed emotions as Pinoke head coach Giles Bonnet is also head coach of the Investec South Africa women’s hockey team as well as being a former SA men’s captain and coach.

The other connection is that two Dutchmen in the Pinoke side, goalkeeper Diederik Mars and left half Wouter Rens, have played a valuable role as members of Bonnet’s battery of technical advisers for South Africa’s national women’s team.

The tussle between Madsen and Reid-Ross against their club team-mates provides an interesting sub-text to tonight’s game.ÔÇ¿ÔÇ¿Mars says Reid-Ross can expect lots of attention: ÔÇ£We are going to put heaps of pressure on Justin in field play,ÔÇØ said the Pinoke keeper, who has faced the Northern Blues drag-flick corner king many times at practice.

Rens offered his thoughts on Madsen: ÔÇ£Lloyd always looks for the perfect pass so we will close those lines down and hopefully he will still be looking for that perfect pass when the game is over,ÔÇØ said the Pinoke left half.

It is set to be an intriguing tussle as world number 12 SA look to build on their excellent 5-3 win over world number four Great Britain last Friday. The exciting second Test was lost 3-1 and tonight’s game is ideal preparation for Saturday’s 6pm Test series decider against the Brits at Hartleyvale.

The second clash with Pinoke at midday Sunday wraps up the Western Cape international series.

9 Feb SA ÔÇô vs Pinoke at Hartleyvale (7pm)

11 Feb SA ÔÇô vs GB at Hartleyvale (6pm)

12 Feb SA ÔÇô vs Pinoke at Hartleyvale (noon)