SA men made to work hard for victory
The South African men’s hockey team were pushed all the way by Scotland, holding on for a 6-5 win in their final match of the Celtic Cup in Lisburn, Northern Ireland, on Sunday.
In a match featuring a brace from both Ian Haley and Lloyd Norris Jones, three penalty strokes and two yellow cards, Dan Coultas stole the show by scoring all five of Scotland’s goals.
SA coach Gregg Clark rested captain Austin Smith and Jonty Robinson for their second successive match, while they recovered from flu, with Wade Paton again taking charge.
The South Africans opened the scoring in the eight minute, through Thornton McDade who was bundled over by Scottish goalkeeper Alan Dick but managed to squeeze the ball past him after a solid build-up from the SA midfield.
McDade’s strike opened the floodgates as the South Africans scored three goals in as many minutes through a superb Ian Haley brace and a goal from Lloyd Norris-Jones.
Haley opened his account 15 minutes into the game after latching onto a wayward shot from Julian Hykes, before unleashing a strike of his own with Dick stranded behind a wall of defenders.
Scotland had barely regrouped when Haley doubled his tally after picking up a pass in the area, finding the net with a simple deflection as Dick stood no chance from close range.
The South African engine room continued to work tirelessly as the tourists pushed for another goal after showing fine form throughout the opening period.
A vital challenge from defender Lloyd Madsen turned defence into attack as McDade led Lloyd Norris-Jones to a clear route to goal with only Dick to beat, as the striker scored his second goal of the tour.
Scotland did well to pull one back with seconds left before the break, with Coultas scoring from the Scots’ first penalty corner.
The Scottish side looked the better team as the second period got underway, as they looked to close the gap.
Coultas proved to be a major thorn in the South Africans’ side as he scored a second penalty corner five minutes into the second stanza.
The Scottish defender completed his hat-trick six minutes later from a penalty stroke, sending SA goalkeeper Rassie Pieterse the wrong way as he netted a well taken stroke from the spot, before scoring his fourth of the afternoon four minutes later as Scotland drew level at 4-4.
SA regained their lead a minute later when Norris-Jones grabbed his second of the afternoon after losing his marker in the Scottish area, shooting into the bottom left of the net.
The match looked set to remain at 5-4 but an infringement in the Scottish area allowed Andrew Cronje — who missed a penalty stroke against Ireland on Thursday — to convert from the spot, extending his side’s lead to 6-4.
Coultas was to have the last say of the match, however, as he rounded off his fifth goal, through another penalty stroke, with Pieterse receiving a yellow card for a foul in the area.