|December 2nd, 2012|
|21||7-8 Placement||8:30am||RSA - POL||4 - 2 (3 - 0)||Final|
Improved South Africa too strong for Poland
South Africa produced their best performance in their final game of the Argentina Hockey Men’s Champions Challenge 1, defeating Poland 4-1. Strikes from Lloyd Norris-Jones, Matt Guise-Brown and Tim Drummond gave South Africa a 3-0 advantage after just 14 minutes of play, a lead which they never looked likely to relinquish. The win confirms a 7th place finish for South Africa, with Poland forced into 8th.
The South Africans gave an early indication of what was to come when Grant Glutz burst into the circle from the left and fired a reverse stick shot just wide of the right post after only two minutes of play. The opening goal arrived five minutes later through Lloyd Norris-Jones, who produced a spectacular tomahawk shot from the right of the circle. It was a lead that South Africa deserved and extended thanks to two goals in two minutes. Matt Guise-Brown fired in a penalty corner before Tim Drummond drilled a stunning low forehand drive from the top of the circle to make the score 3-0 after just 14 minutes. Poland struggled to come to terms with the speed and movement of their African opponents, and nearly conceded a fourth goal when Austin Smith hit the post with a penalty corner drag-flick towards the end of the half.
South Africa continued their domination in the early stages of the second half and could easily have added to their tally with Norris-Jones going close on two occasions. Poland grew in confidence as the half progressed, and gave themselves a glimmer of hope eleven minutes from the end when Marcin Lewartowski scored with a smart from close range. However, South Africa effectively sealed victory thanks to Taine Paton’s 64th minute strike, crashing home a loose ball when Poland failed to clear their lines. Poland made the score 4-2 three minutes from the end of the game when Adrian Krokosz’ attempted pass was diverted into the goal via a South African foot, but it was no more than a consolation as South Africa ended their competition on a high.
Gregg Clark (RSA Coach)
“I think we played good enough hockey in this tournament to give ourselves a chance to win more games but, as happened in the second half today, we get the ball to the final third of the field and we are not accurate. We make chances for ourselves but we don’t take those opportunities. That is not good enough at this level, and that’s why we played for the 7th and 8th place.”
Austin Smith (RSA Captain)
“Finally a victory. It’s better now than never. I think we played really well the first half, and we spoke at half time about not falling asleep in the second half, which we did to some extent. We let them create too many opportunities.”
Karol Sniekek (POL Coach)
“The tournament is over, that’s why we are relaxed. What happened to us is that we got ahead of ourselves after the victory against Korea, our head was too much in front, but other teams showed us our place. That is good for the team, because you learn more from defeats. We know our weaknesses and we have to work hard for the World League.”
Dariusz Rachwalski (POL Captain)
“We knew that the teams in this tournament are good and that they are play top level hockey, so we are really happy for having the opportunity to participate here. I think we improved and learned a lot from each match, which is really important for the new and inexperienced players. We will go home with a lot of knowledge from this tournament.”