The South African men’s hockey team were involved in an impressive second-half fightback here on Thursday as they salvaged a 2-2 draw with Pakistan in stifling conditions.
It was South Africa’s first match as a group after competing in the World Cup at the same venue and the manner in which they managed to blow off the cobwebs in the second period, after slipping 2-0 behind augurs well for their Commonwealth Games ambitions.
At the same time, in temperatures soaring over 40deg C on the field, the South African women’s team were narrowly beaten 2-1 by England, but it was a result which captain Marsha Marescia saw as a good workout. ÔÇ£We struggled a bit in the heat, but then it was the same for them. England are ranked higher than us in the world and they also beat us 2-1 in the recent World Cup, but we were competitive and can only build on this result.ÔÇØ
The South African goal came from striker Dirkie Chamberlaine. The team is again in action on Friday when they take on New Zealand in another practice encounter.
The men’s team had Gareth Carr and Justin Reid-Ross to thank for an inspired response after half-time in their game against Pakistan, who had surged into a 2-0 lead by the interval.
Goalkeeper Erasmus Pieterse, who replaced Brendan Botes after half-time, was a satisfied camper afterwards. ÔÇ£We beat Pakistan in the World Cup here earlier in the year and this was our first match since then. We were a bit scratchy in the first half and made a few silly defensive errors which led to their goal, but then we picked it up in the second half.
ÔÇ£We finished strongly and, apart from both goals that were scored by short corners, we earned a few others (shorties). The fact I started with a clean sheet (albeit it one half!), I think things went rather well!ÔÇØ Erasmus added.
On Friday South Africa play India in another friendly.