After a narrow defeat to Austria on day 1, the SPAR South Africa Women’s Indoor Hockey team took the court for undeniably the toughest assignment on paper, a match with tournament favorites the Netherlands.
Spurred on by their full-hearted display in the opening day the hosts came out with a fighting spirit and with a remarkable determination to challenge and upset their opposition. They had one or two half chances in the early exchanges, but the Dutch showed how they are able to deliver danger at almost point with Pam Imhoff popping up to finish at the back post. South Africa continued to search for an opening but at the end of the first quarter it was 1-0 to the Dutch.
South Africa gave the home crowd the jubilation feeling and scored the first goal against the Dutch in the tournament. A quick attack saw a shot from Robyn Johnson saved, a good advantage was played, and the South Africans levelled through Celia Seerane. Robyn Johnson was proving a thorn in the side of the Dutch as she almost created another superb opportunity going around Alexandra Heerbart but ran out of space to make it count.
Both teams offered a threat as the crowd raised their volume as the teams were tied 1-1 at the half time break.
South Africa denied two Dutch penalty corners in the second half before they won their own. They then earned their own through Kayla de Waal but Jess O’Connor’s shot was narrowly wide. Just as the belief was starting to grow the South Africans were caught napping and vant Hoog finished past Greyvenstein.
South Africa almost created the equalizer with Kayla de Waal once again but it was just out of reach for the charismatic striker. The South Africans though were under siege from the Dutch and despite a tremendous defensive effort from the South Africans vant Hoog finished again to give the Dutch a 3-1 lead.
The Dutch were ultimately the team that were victorious on the turf but the South Africans had once again won the hearts of the audience as they pushed the world number 2 to the edge and forced them to raise their game to get the game over the line.