Proteas secure WC spot
THEY may have started out slowly in the Hockey World League Semi-Finals but the South African women finished with a bang beating Ireland 3-0 to earn their place at next year’s World Cup in London.
The Proteas fired hot and cold throughout the tournament but managed to keep their wits about them for the crucial fifth to eighth place classification match.
The top six teams automatically qualify for the 2018 World Cup with South Africa at least guaranteed a place among the top sides.
South Africa will next face Japan tomorrow, where the two sides will be crossing sticks for a fifth-place finish in the tournament.
The sides went into the half-time break on equal terms and with everything to play for in the remaining 30 minutes.
South Africa’s first opportunity to take the lead came in the 23rd minute of the match when they were awarded a penalty corner.
Lisa-Marie Deetlefs made no mistake when she landed the blow with a reverse shot that went high into the back of the goal-box.
The tourists had a chance to enforce the status quo a minute before the break when they earned a penalty stroke.
Roisin Upton’s shot hit the right-hand post denied Ireland the equaliser with the home side going into the break breathing a sigh of relief.
The scores remained unchanged in the third chukka before things unravelled for the Irish with the South Africans adding two more goals to the scoreline.
Bernie Coston added the second in the 49th minute after she forced a turnover inside the circle to plant a straight shot into the back of the net.
For a final roll of the dice 10 minutes remaining in the encounter, Ireland played their final card by replacing the keeper with a kicking back.
Lilian du Plessis exploited an exposed goal box landing the knockout blow to her side an unassailable 3-0 victory.