The scoreboard said 6-2 for Germany. Rhett Halkett and his men did put up a stellar performance though and the score does not give justice to the display of the 15th ranked South Africans against the two time Olympic Champions.
Germany took the lead early on with a goal from Oliver Korn in the first few minutes of the match. The South African defence settled down quickly though and kept the German attackers out of goal until the last three minutes of the second quarter when Jonas Gomoll and Korn scored two quick goals to give the visitors a 3-0 lead at halftime.
Whatever was said at halftime worked, because it was a fired-up local team that ran unto the field and really put the visitors under pressure. Soon the German captain had to tell his teammates to keep calm under the constant attack from the South Africans. Daniel Sibbald gave South Africa something to cheer about and when Pierre de Voux scored a few minutes later the crowd was also fired-up.
The South African effort was somewhat undone when Lukas Windfeder scored from a penalty corner shortly before the end of the quarter. And when Germany got a penalty converted by Gomoll and Jan Philipp Rabente scored the sixth goal, the game was all but over with few minutes left.
Captain Halkett had mixed emotions afterwards. “I think it was good for us to draw a line in sand to see where we stand against one of the best teams. We now must go forward though and not backwards. I’m proud of how the guys played, but also really unhappy with the score. We need to manage the critical phases of the game with more street smarts and composure.”
Coach Fabian Gregory added: “We need to be more consistent. We made some really critical errors at crucial times of the match. We did some really good work, but we need to be more consistent.”
Tomorrow there are two matches at Hartleyvale. The South African women take on Scotland at 16:00, while SA men’s team will play Germany in the second of three tests.