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Marissa Langeni, Marsha Marescia and Mike du Plessis © Plate Pictures

Milestones for Marsha, Pietie against Ghana

There was little room to move for tournament outsiders Ghana on the second day of World League action at Hartleyvale in Cape Town on Tuesday night and the Investec South Africa women’s hockey team came away with a 6-0 win after leading 4-0 at the break, Dirkie Chamberlain netting a hat-trick, world record goalscorer Pietie Coetzee bagging a brace including her 250th in 255 tests, and Bernie Coston nailing the other.

The match was pre-empted by the handing over of a bouquet of flowers to SA captain Marsha Marescia, who was playing her 300th test match.

The scoring was opened when Chamberlain founds tons of space to pick her spot past goalkeeper Grace Mensah in the fifth minute.

Coetzee edged one closer to the magical 250-mark when she slotted the first SA penalty corner two minutes later to take her tally to 249. Then a third SA goal came from their second PC shortly after - and this time it was Tarryn Bright who powered her hit from the top of the strike zone to the far post and Chamberlain deflected past the keeper (3-0).

Ghana’s Elizabeth Opoku and Monica Swell-Grant gave the SA defence an awkward moment or two during this encounter and they deserved a goal, but the girls in green and gold dominated for 90% of this clash. With seven minutes to halftime Mensah thwarted what looked to be Coetzee’s 250th with a great glove save to her right.

But another goal had to come and Coston made it 4-0 five minutes from the interval after an SA penalty corner had initially gone wrong.

Turning around 4-0 up, good SA build-up along the right in the 43rd minute led to a fizzing reverse-stick shot by Coetzee which Mensah saved, only for Chamberlain to pick up the rebound and slam into the backboard for her hat-trick (5-0).

The gutsy Ghanaians played with sheer courage and determination, Coetzee many times denied and frustrated more than once. Chamberlain enjoyed a productive game and not only in front of goal – her workrate on and off the ball was impressive.

The true test for SA, of course, will come in the form of Belgium, who beat the South Africans 4-0 in a test series the week before, in Thursday’s 7 pm match.

Monday: Azerbaijan 4 Ghana 0; Belgium 8 Austria 0
Tuesday: Azerbaijan 2 Austria 1

Thursday’s fixtures
5 pm: Ghana vs Austria
7 pm: SA vs Belgium


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