It was anyone’s for the taking on day 9 at the Hockey World League in Johannesburg. Today it was the final Women’s pool matches with South Africa, England, Argentina, Germany, India & USA women all in action.
Germany v Japan
With Japan coming into the day as pool A leaders a win would mean they finished top. Germany were looking to bounce back from their defeat against England and get to the top. The teams playing in pool A today have all qualified for the quarter finals but today’s matches will decide who plays who in group B.
Germany came out with determination today and Japan were unable to do anything about Charlotte Stapenhorst’s 23rd minute goal. Japan weren’t letting Germany have it all their own way but on 34 minutes a penalty corner was fired home by Nike Lorenz to double the lead.
In the 3rd quarter the umpire awarded a stroke for Japan but after a German referral the decision was reversed. Japan were doing all they could to score but just couldn’t put away their chances.
A minute into the final quarter and Cecille Pieper’s goal was enough to take the points. A very strange thing happened in the last 2 minutes, as even though they were 3-0 up, Germany put on their kicking back. No idea why!
England v Ireland
NB: during this game USA captain Melissa Gonzalez came up to Jemma (our photographer) and asked could she take some photos. You can see the photos Melissa took at the bottom of this article.
A crucial game, as Germany’s victory meant that whoever lost this one would likely face Argentina in the quarter finals.
England pushed back but it was a good start from Ireland, pressing England high and not letting them settle on the ball.
Neither side were able to really take control and on 5 minutes Laura Unsworth took a stick to the mouth. Painful!
Ireland had the first real chance as O’Flanagan found herself free in the D but Maddie Hinch was out to cover the danger.
England did get the ball in the net on 7 minutes but the goal was ruled out as it had hit Alex Danson’s foot on the way in.
England were pushing Ireland harder in the closing minutes of the quarter but great defending by Ireland’s most experienced player, Shirley McCay, kept them at bay.
With 2 minutes to go, Ireland’s Chloe Watkins was awarded a green card and England made them pay immediately when Sarah Haycroft’s shot was deflected in by an Ireland defender to give England the lead.
A minute into the 2nd quarter Anna Toman received a green card for playing the ball after the whistle and it was Ireland’s turn to dominate. England were pinned in their own 23 and a shot by Gillian Pinder was well kept out by Maddie Hinch.
It was all Ireland with 6 minutes gone and only some calm defending by Hollie Webb stopped Ireland from getting straight through on goal.
With 5 minutes to go in the half it was still all Ireland, with once again Hollie Webb bossing the defence to keep Ireland out
England broke with 3 minutes to go and Owsley ran into the D and placed the ball on an Ireland foot for the first penalty corner of the game. A great drag from Ansley to the left post saw the injector, Shona McCallin deflect in to make it 2-0 to England.
The goal seemed to dent Ireland’s confidence and they just couldn’t get hold of the ball and the half finished with England 2-0 up.
In the 1st minute of the 2nd half Ireland were back in it when they broke into the D where Nicola Daly’s backhand deflected in from an England stick.
A minute later and Ireland were level when Kathryn Mullan’s backhand from the top of the D went under Maddie Hinch’s arm.
With 4 minutes gone Unsworth picked up a green card and England were down to 10. Ireland were all over England who were struggling to get out of their own half but it was 10 players each as Anna O’Flanagan was also awarded a green card.
On 39 minutes a poor clearance by Hinch fell to Mullan who couldn’t make the most of the shot. Seconds later and it was Mullan again firing just wide. England were all over the place.
With 2 minutes of the quarter left England found O’Byrne’s foot in the D for their 2nd penalty corner. Another great drag by Ansley was well kept out by McFerran but the ball fell to Alex Danson and she made no mistake.
That goal settled England nerves and the quarter finished 3-2 to England.
It was England who came out the stronger in the last quarter and 3 minutes in a dangerous cross by Anna Toman eluded everyone to Ireland’s relief.
Ireland started to press again in the 50th minute and a ball into Anna O’Flanagan looked like a great opportunity but she couldn’t finish.
A minute later Danson broke forward but was bundled off the ball by Elena Tice who was shown a 5 minute yellow, reducing Ireland to 10.
In the 54th minute O’Flanagan broke in again but superb defending by Hollie Webb again kept Ireland out.
With just over 3 minutes left, Shirley McCay became kicking back in an attempt to get the equaliser. Even with the extra outfield player it was England who had the upper hand and with only seconds left England were awarded a penalty corner but after an umpires discussion the decision was to start with a free hit to England after confusion about the previous play.
Danson took the hit and kept the ball on the line until the hooter went.
South Africa v USA
It was a must win game for the host nation and once again there was a capacity crowd at Wits to cheer on their team.
There were a few chances for both teams in the opening exchanges and when Quanita Bobbs crossed in, causing a scramble in the US circle the crowd were on their feet, but they couldn’t make the most of the chance.
The USA almost had a chance on 12 when Witmer picked the ball up at top of the D but great defending by South Africa.
With a minute left of the quarter USA captain Melissa Gonzalez picked up the ball at the top of the D and smashed the backhand into the backboard to make it 1-0 USA.
At the start of the 2nd quarter a dangerous cross by Gonzalez caused havoc in the South Africa D but they were able to scramble the ball out.
With 5 minutes gone South Africa were penned back in their own half by the high USA press but stern defending meant the United States couldn’t get any clear chances.
With 5 minutes left of the half a South African attack broke down and USA piled forward but Michelle Vittese couldn’t find the target.
Seconds later Shelley Jones flew down the right, played a ball into Damons who passed to Jade Mayne to sweep into the net and send the home crowd wild. Almost straight away South Africa had a penalty corner but the shot by Deetlefs went just wide.
A great quarter by the South African’s brought the half to an end at 1-1.
The opening exchanges of the 2nd half were quite even with neither team gaining an advantage but a foot in the D in the 2nd minute led to a USA penalty corner which was easily cut out by the no.1 runner.
5 minutes into the quarter Erin Matson picked up a green card leaving USA with 10. They couldn’t make the advantage pay and USA went up the other end to win their 2nd penalty corner. A strong strike by Sharkey from the top was superbly saved by the South African Keeper.
With 4 minutes of the quarter left, South Africa started to put the pressure on with chances for Damons and Davids but neither could make it count.
With a minute left of the quarter a backhand shot by Katelyn Ginolfi saw Jill Witmer touch in the ball just ahead of the keeper to give USA the lead back.
In the 2nd minute USA were down to 10 when Jill Witmer picked up a green card and South Africa started to put pressure on the US defence.
With 11 minutes left a high ball found Bernadette Coston who dragged the keeper wide and she fed Candice Manuel who slid the ball into the net to give South Africa the equaliser.
A minute later and South Africa were in the lead when a break by Terblanche found Manuel in the D and she forced her backhand just inside Jackie Briggs’ post.
With just under 7 minutes to go both teams were down to 10 when Bernadette Manuel and Michelle Vittese clashed and the umpire stamped her authority. Just a fter that South Africa were down to 9 when Lilian du Plessis picked up a green card.
With 3 minutes to go, South Africa picked up another green card when Lisa-Marie Deetlefs was adjudged to be wasting time by the umpire.
The crowd were getting more animated and counted down the clock as South Africa produced a miraculous victory to see them into the quarter finals.
Argentina v India
Both teams are already guaranteed a place in the quarter finals so it was about who was going to finish where.
Argentina started strongest and with just 2 minutes on the clock Rocio Sanchez struck a wicked shot into the top corner to give Argentina a 1-0 lead.
2 minutes later India had a chance to equalise but the ball slipped agonisingly wide.
In the 6th minute Argentina were awarded a penalty corner for a foot in the D but India referred saying it was high. The video umpire agreed that it was a foot and India lost their referral. Barrionuevo stepped up to drag the ball but could only push it wide of the goal.
Argentina were on top but weren’t getting too many shots on target. In the 13th minute Granatto weaved into the D and passed to Cavallero who could only fire wide.
With a minute to go Argentina won their 3rd penalty corner but Gomez’s push was deflected just wide by Granatto. Seconds later and Granatto dispossessed Monika inside the 23 and raced into the D to push the ball past the keeper to make it 2-0 just before the break.
On 25 minutes Argentina were awarded a penalty stroke and Barrionuevo mode no mistake as she pushed the ball just inside the keeper’s left-hand post to make it 3-0 to Argentina.
With 2 minutes left of the half, Cavallero had another opportunity but completely missed her shot and India got the ball away.
It was all Argentina in the 3rd quarter but there were few chances in the D and on 36 minutes Argentina won another penalty corner. Once again it was Gomez with the drag but the keeper parried it dangerously leading to PC number 8 for Las Leonas. Argentina still couldn’t get the ball in despite a desperate scramble in front of goal and India cleared their lines.
India were doing really well keeping Argentina out and were a lot more calm and composed in defence, easily snuffing out an of the South Americans’ advances.
Argentina were on the attack again in the last quarter but once again India’s defence was standing firm. India were starting to find inroads into the Argentina 23 but couldn’t put any finishing touches together.
With 3 minutes to go the best chance of the quarter fell to Granatto but her shot went just over the bar. A moment later Argentina won another penalty corner but Augustina Gorzelany’s shot was easily turned away.
A minute later Argentina won another PC but once again they couldn’t convert.
India pushed Argentina back in the final minutes and a great save by the Argentine Keeper kept out captain, Rani. The game finished 3-0 to Argentina.
A selection of Gonzalez’s best shots