BERLIN – South Africa's BlitzStoks suffered two defeats on Thursday at the fifth Indoor Hockey World Cup being played in Berlin, Germany, getting beaten 6-3 by Iran and then losing to Switzerland 3-1.
In the early game the BlitzStoks took on the Swiss and immediately looked under pressure.
Playing on the back foot and soaking up pressure the BlitzStoks produced only one circle entry in the entire first half and went into the break facing a 3-0 deficit through an Yves Morard hat-trick.
The BlitzStoks managed to pull a goal back through Reza Rosenberg, but the lack of finishing proved costly as South Africa were consigned to their third successive defeat of the tournament.
It was now all or nothing as the BlitzStoks took on the undefeated Iranians knowing that anything other than victory would deny them an opportunity to compete for the Top 8 positions in the tournament.
With that in mind, the South Africans finally led 2-1 at halftime through Wade Paton and Jarryd Jones.
But then South Africa conceded twice in a minute. Reza Norouzzadeh levelled from the penalty corner before Behnam Sadi gave Iran the lead to punish some sloppy play.
However, the BlitzStoks fought back and Reza Rosenberg pulled them square with his second goal of the day. But once again the lead did not last long and South Africa needlessly gave away a penalty stroke which Norouzzadeh dispatched.
Try as they might the BlitzStoks could not pull level and conceded two more goals to give the scoreline a lopsided feel.
To add insult to injury, Switzerland were defeated by Belgium, sending South Africa to the disappointment of the 11th and 12th place playoff with a group game remaining.
The BlitzStoks will play against Belgium in Friday's game before playing either Kazhakstan or Trinidad & Tobago in the 11th place match on Saturday morning.
The SA Indoor touring team:
Chris McCathie (GK) KZN, Richard Curtis (GK) KZN, Matthew Fairweather KZN, Justin Domleo KZN, Robin Jones KZN, Wade Paton KZN, Jethro Eustice KZN, Mohamed Mea KZN, Rusten Abrahams SG, Reza Rosenberg SG, Ryan Julius WP, Jarryd Jones KZN.
African News Agency (ANA)