The South African Hockey Men scored in each quarter as they completed a series whitewash over USA with a 5-1 at Ashton College in Ballito this morning. The SA Men gained 20.6 ranking points for the series and have closed the gap on Ireland who are currently ranked 13th to just 30 points.
Things did not start as well as the score line suggests for the South Africans, who had honoured Bili Ntuli before the game for his 50th cap, as the USA Side had three consecutive penalty corners early in the game. The South Africans were resolute in defence with Keenan Horne particularly impressive in charging down as the first wave.
USA were left to rue those chances as South Africa took the lead and from that moment on never relinquished their dominance. The opener came when Le-Neal Jackson, playing in his second test, had a drag flick illegally blocked on the line. Jethro Eustice took the resultant penalty stroke firing it into the roof of the net.
Eustice was called on again in the second quarter when another shot was illegally blocked and the defensive stalwart for the hosts made no mistake with a low finish. The third goal offered a momentary glimpse into the talents of Mustapha Cassiem who produced an up and under that would have made Faf de Klerk proud, to send Owen Mvimbi through. Jonathan Klages came storming out of his goal but when he failed to clear the ball Mvimbi made a difficult chance look simple.
Dayaan Cassiem was the scorer of the fourth for the South Africans, who probably should have had more at that stage, when he reacted first to a blocked shot by Klages, who was making numerous saves to keep the score line respectful. The USA Men did get a consolation goal through Christian de Angelis, but ultimately as they had throughout the series, the hosts had the last laugh.
Breaking forward on another counter, Dayaan Cassiem chose to be unselfish and squared for Taine Paton who will not score many easier International hockey goals for South Africa.
Overall it was a successful series for Garreth Ewing’s side who have looked fantastic in pieces. It will also give the selection team same good thoughts to ponder. They now head up to Johannesburg to take on 6th ranked Germany in four tests with several changes to the squad and another big opportunity for players to raise their hands for the Olympic squad.
SA Summer Series – Legacy Cup Results
SA 4-2 USA
SA 2-1 USA
SA 6-3 USA
SA 5-1 USA
Picture - Raw Shuga Photography - Not for reuse