The South African Hockey Men and their neighbours renewed pleasantries tonight at Northcliff High School in Johannesburg for the third test. The match saw the hosts in their new TK kit on the day that the SA Hockey and TK announced their new partnership.

The Namibians who had impressed in a heartfelt performance on Sunday where the crossbar denied them the draw, were looking to show a continued improvement and possibly snatch a result. The South Africans welcomed back Daniel Bell into the team having arrived back from club duty in Belgium.

The game started with a more focussed approach from the South Africans with the likes of Chad Futcher, Leneal Jackson, Jethro Eustice and Bell seeing a lot of ball. South Africa fashioned an early chance where Mustapha Cassiem deflected for the top right corner, but it was a good save from DJ Strauss. Strauss would be a little frustrated with his effort for the goal though in truth. South Africa won the penalty corner, the injection was good and Chad Futcher fired in a good penalty corner. Strauss got his pad to it, but it bundled over the line. It was Futcher’s first outdoor goal for South Africa to couple with his indoor international haul.

South Africa would turn one into two before the end of the first chukka with Mustapha Cassiem finishing off a team move. That marked Cassiem’s fifth international goal in just his 7th match, a remarkable start to his outdoor career. Unfortunately that was the last of significant action in the first half and 2-0 remained the score at the break.

Both teams searched for the next goal, which in turn would be the final goal of the game. The South Africans were the team to get it as a wonderful run from Andrew Hobson along the baseline laid the ball across and Ignatius Malgraff was able to tap into an empty net. Malgraff will not have many easier goals in his career, but he will be delighted all the same.

Despite a double yellow card for the South African Men at the end they were able to hold on despite the numerical disadvantage and seal the series 3-0. The two teams will meet again on Wednesday and Friday for the final two test matches of a hotly contested series.

The matches will be streamed live on the SA Hockey Association Facebook page and the Watch Hockey App.

Photo – Marcel Sigg / Run Ride Dive