Johannesburg – Despite conceding a goal in the opening 30 seconds a determined Belgium side came back to beat the South African women's hockey team 2-1 in the third Test, played at Hartleyvale in Cape Town Thursday night.
The victory clinches the four-Test series with a match to spare.
Now 3-0 up in the series following 2-1 and 2-0 wins at Central Hockey Club in Vygieskraal on Monday and Wednesday respectively, the Belgians will be eyeing a whitewash when the final Test takes place at 3 pm at Hartleyvale on Saturday.
For the girls in green and gold, who are missing superstars Marsha Marescia and Pietie Coetzee for this series, all is not lost and a win on Saturday will do much to boost their confidence ahead of the World League at Hartleyvale next week and then the Challenge at the same venue in the first week of February.
Dirkie Chamberlain displayed neat touches in working her way out of a posse of tacklers to score the opener inside the first minute after Bernie Coston had made space to cross from the right.
Shortly before half-time, Belgium hit back in this exciting match of end-to-end action when Jill Boon embellished Anouk Raes’s superb work at close quarters to slip the ball past outstanding SA keeper Sanani Mangisa.
The equaliser was followed by the winner eight minutes from the end when Stephanie de Groof’s powerful flick clattered into the backboard from the Belgians’ fourth penalty corner.
SA won six penalty corners to Belgium’s four in this clash.
Essentially this free-flowing encounter was a match for the goalkeepers, who were in superb form. Mangisa made nine top saves in the 70 minutes while opposite number Nadine Khouzam reeled off four super saves of her own. – Sapa