A defensive masterclass from the SPAR South African ladies in their pool game against Australia at the FIH Hockey Indoor World Cup on Wednesday set up an easy scenario on Thursday morning. Defeat New Zealand and qualify for the Quarter-Finals.
Spurred on by a crowd awash with school kids from the Tshwane region, the South Africans looked to break down a stubborn New Zealand defense and they eventually managed to do so when Tegan Fourie converted her third of the tournament just before the halftime hooter.
In the third quarter the South Africans raised the tempo and pulled the game out of the New Zealand reach as Danny de Oliviera, Jess O’Connor and Jess Lardant all fired home from penalty corners pulling the South Africans forward.
South Africa saw their lead cut down by 1 when Deanna Richie fired low and hard past Nepo Serage, but Laiken Brisset stretched the lead back to 4 when she converted on the end of a Robyn Johnson pass for her first international goal.
New Zealand showed a mini-fightback to net twice. Once from Norman at a penalty corner before an opportunistic strike from Ritchie raised heart rates in the arena slightly. But there was no worry for the South Africans as Kayla de Waal as she fired in a rebound high and celebrated with relief as much as joy.
South Africa has now secured their first ever Quarter Final place at the FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup and will await eagerly the outcome of who their opponent will be on Friday Night at Heartfelt Arena.