Hockey World League Johannesburg Day 15

Today’s games feature both men and women for the first time in the competition with both the 5/6 & 7/8 placed games in each.

Ireland v India

First up in the women’s games were Ireland v India to see who finishes 7th, and with the way the top teams around the world are performing, it’s likely that the team which takes 7th here today will also claim a world cup place; although the continental tournaments will have to be completed before we know that for sure.

Ireland were well on top, keeping India in their own half for the majority of the first 10 minutes and with 5 minutes to go in the quarter, Ireland won their 1st penalty corner but Roisin Upton’s drag was saved by the post player.

After that it was India coming forward, winning a succession of long corners but unable to turn them into a shot on goal.

With less than a minute to go in the quarter, it was India who won their 1st penalty corner for a stick block. This time, the Indian’s made no mistake and Gurjit Kaur dragged the ball to McFerran’s right to give them a 1-0 lead at the end of the 1st quarter.

2 minutes into the 2nd quarter, a shot by Gillian Pinder caused confusion in front of the keeper and India did well to scramble it away.

In the minutes that followed, it was all India as Ireland’s defence were making hard work of keeping the simplest of balls out.

Ireland did have a chance with 21 minutes gone, when a ball in from Kathryn Mullan found Sinead Loughran at the top of the D, but her shot flashed just wide.

On 24 minutes, Ayeisha McFerran came out and completely took out the India attacker and a penalty stroke was awarded. As well as that, McFerran was shown a 10 minute yellow card. This meant that Grace O’Flanagan had to get ready and take her place, and face the penalty stroke.

O’Flanagan made a terrific save, and moments later was forced into another good save to keep India out.

On 26 minutes, Ireland won their 2nd penalty corner, which Upton dragged well again but it was scrambled away by India.

With 2 minutes left of the half Anupa weaved into the D and Rani turned the ball in. However, the umpire referred as she wasn’t sure about the nature of the goal and it transpired that the ball had been deflected in off the back stick and the goal didn’t count.

Ireland were lucky to only be one goal down at half time as it was India dominating, but it was still all to play for in the 2nd period.

India were out on top again at the beginning of the 2nd half, winning two penalty corners in the first minute. Both were fired in by Gurjit but Ireland managed to clear and escaped a 3rd one after a successful referral.

On 35 Ireland started to use a much higher press and Kathryn Mullan’s shot had to be well saved by Savita in the Indian goal.

On 37 minutes Elena Tice made a bad stick tackle outside of the D and penalty corner was awarded to India. This time Rani had a straight strike which came off Mullan’s foot for another but the same routine was well saved this time by O’Flanagan.

On 41 minutes India were down to 9 when India picked up 2 green cards in quick succession, but Ireland, despite a lot of pressure couldn’t find the equaliser.

With less than a minute left of the quarter, Ireland won their 3rd penalty corner when Anna O’Flanagan was obstructed in the 23. Upton produced a great save from Savita and the follow up shot just couldn’t be touched in by two Irish players on the line and the quarter finished with India still the one goal up.

Straight from the restart, Mullan put Nicola Evans clear through but she was unable to put the finishing touch on the ball.

2 minutes in and Ireland were awarded a penalty corner which India referred. The video umpire gave the decision to Ireland and India lost their referral. From the corner, this time Tice played the ball to Mullan just outside the post who made no mistake to level the score.

Moments later and Ireland were awarded their 5th penalty corner. Ireland seemed to make a mess of it but Lizzie Colvin picked it up and fired an unstoppable shot to give them a 2-1 lead.

Half way through the last quarter and Ireland were doing well at keeping India at bay, and it was they who were creating the better of the chances.

With the clock ticking down, India were putting on the pressure but Ireland’s defence held firm to snuff out any chances.

Ireland were doing a good job of keeping possession in the final minute and they managed to see out the game for a well-deserved victory.

 

South Africa v Japan

In their final game of the tournament, the hosts South Africa were looking to top off a very credible performance throughout when they faced Japan to see who would finish 5th.

It was Japan with the initial pressure, but as South Africa have often shown, their strong defence was more than a match for their opponents advances.

On 6 minutes, South Africa had the first real chance as a ball in from Shelley Jones found Jade Mayne whose goalward bound effort was fired just wide by Damons.

Moments later Damons stole the ball and put Davids in who was unlucky with the keeper at full stretch just keeping her out.

In the last 5 minutes of the quarter it was Japan who were putting on the pressure but once again South Africa’s defence were playing some cool hockey, keeping them out and looking very dangerous on the counter attack.

With 30 seconds left of the quarter, South Africa won their 1st penalty corner but the defender pushed it high onto a South Africa striker for another. Although South Africa got the ball in net, the umpire had blown for another, and following that they won yet another but the straight strike from the top couldn’t find a way into the net and the quarter finished 0-0.

It was all South Africa at the start of the 2nd quarter and 2 minutes in they won their 5th penalty corner. From the corner a shot came in which the umpire referred to see if the shot was on target as it was illegally stopped on the way to go and a penalty stroke was awarded.

Lilian du Plessis stepped up and pushed the ball to the keeper’s right to give South Africa a 1-0 lead.

Japan were still facing a wall of South African defence and on 23 minutes a quick hit was played from Davids to Jones at the top of the D and she found Tarryn Glasby just in front of the keeper, who finished well to make it 2-0 to South Africa.

On 28 minutes, Sulette Damons broke into the D and was stick checked to give South Africa their 6th penalty corner but another straight strike was well saved by Kageyama in the Japanese goal.

With a minute left of the half, Japan won their 1st penalty corner. At least three shots were played at the SA goal but they somehow kept it out. Japan referred for another penalty corner but there was no decision possible and it was a free hit for South Africa and that was how the half ended.

Japan came out and put pressure on South Africa but yet again, some solid defending kept them out. 5 minutes into the half and the Japanese pressure finally paid off when Yuri Nagai scored to bring them back into the game.

The goal gave Japan a new lease of life and they started to press. In the closing minutes, though, it was South Africa back on top but they couldn’t make any clear-cut chances and the quarter finished 2-1 to South Africa.

Japan spent the first 5 minutes of the final quarter pressurising South Africa but Terblanche and co. at the back were not letting Japan anywhere near the goal.

With 5 minutes left, and the game continuing in the same vein, Japan put their kicking back on to try to get back on level terms.

With seconds left on the clock two Japanese players missed the ball on the line and South Africa finished the game out 2-1 winners.

 

Following the women’s matches, the men now played for 5/6 & 7/8 places, and first up it was

Egypt v France

Egypt have come a long way in this tournament, and to finish on the penultimate day was an achievement in itself.

Unfortunately today, it was France who came out on top, and a goal inside 6 minutes by Victor Charlet from a penalty corner gave them the lead.

France didn’t have it all their own way and it wasn’t until the 43rd minute when they won a penalty stroke did they double their lead through Hugo Genestet.

3 minutes into the final quarter and the game was sealed when Blaise Rogeau fired in to give France an unassailable lead and France went on to win 3-0 to claim 7th place.

 

New Zealand v Ireland

A very close match between New Zealand and Ireland for the World Cup place was decided with a 49th minute goal from Ireland’s Alan Southern, and despite New Zealand’s tireless battering of the Irish defence in the final quarter it was Ireland who held firm to seal the World Cup place.

Neither team could carve out any clear chances in the opening exchanges but Ireland won a penalty corner which was well saved.

New Zealand had a chance when Hugo Inglis’ backhand smashed against the crossbar and then Ireland kept out a penalty corner, as their defence stayed solid. Despite a number of penalty corners in the closing stages, it was Southern’s goal that separated the teams at full time.

Joanne Pilson

Joanne Pilson is from Doncaster, England and is the Communications Officer for Worksop Ladies Hockey Club, writing original, topical content about hockey and women's sports. Joanne plays hockey, cricket and football and enjoys them with a passion, although she's only done so for the last five years. Sport has done so much to enhance her life, she continuously encourages others to take part and does all she can to promote it..