Back home South Africa is still celebrating their Rugby World Cup triumph over New Zealand in France while their men’s junior hockey team slumped to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Great Britain in the 11th Sultan of Johor Cup in Johor Bahru on Monday.
It was the second defeat for the South Africans in Group A, having lost 6-1 to Germany in their opening match last Friday. Both teams took to the field in search of their first win in the tournament.
“We had expected a tough match and are pleased with this victory,” said Great Britain manager Jon Bleby. “The boys went on the offensive early and should have started the goals coming in early. Our chances of a slot in the semifinals rest on the Australia-Germany match.”
Three-time champions Great Britain and South Africa had all the momentum going in the first two quarters but failed to capitalise on the chances that came their way. Britain’s Tom Spreckley muffed two penalty corner opportunities, sending the ball straight into goalkeeper Gianluca Virrissimo, the Man of the Match recipient.
The South Africans also bravely ventured deep into their opponent’s circle and earned their first penalty corner in the 10th minute but Wive Mbata ballooned the ball.
The Britons however, found their attacking formula to their advantage in the third quarter and got the first goal in the 43rd minute thanks to the brilliance of Jonny Sturch Hibbitt when he tapped the ball past goalkeeper Virrissimo to give his side a 1-0 lead.
South Africa returned after this setback much better in the fourth quarter and equalised through Josh de Klerk’s field goal attempt to level 1-1 but it was Great Britain who went on to win 2-1 when they earned a penalty corner in the 58th minute. Rory Penrose did not disappoint his side.