Oranje fight for a draw in Super 12 opener

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Trune Prinsloo PHOTO: MORGAN PIEK

The hosts, C & N Sekondêre Meisieskool Oranje, were saved blushes on Friday morning during the opening match of the 2018 Super 12 Hockey tournament being played in Bloemfontein.

The powerhouse of South African girls’ schools hockey, Oranje, had to dig deep with 10 minutes remaining on the clock to force a 2-2 against St. Stithians College.

Oranje were the most dominated team during the first half of the match, yet it was the side from Johannesburg who entered the break leading 1-0.

The home side were more aggressive on the attack during the second stanza, however, they weren’t able to capitalise on their chances.

St. Stithians doubled their lead in with 15 minutes to play and there was a sense that there was a major upset on the cards.

The Oranje coach, Morne Odendaal, decided to substitute his goalkeeper for a roaming-keeper, as they were on the attack the whole time.

The gamble paid off as Trune Prinsloo, who had been threatening the “D” the whole game, drilled the ball into the goal from a short-corner with some 8 minutes left in the game. This gave Oranje the necessary spark that needed and a few minutes later Sunè Laubscher drove home the equaliser.

Oranje sensed that that there was a chance of victory and kept pushing however time was not on their side.

Odendaal told Courant that his sides inability to convert their chances in the first half cost them a win.

“We had three good chances in the first half and they did not hit the target once. In the second half they did well with their two chances.

“I think that we did well in the last ten minutes to draw the game.”

Odendaal added that the pressure of being the tournament hosts could have been a contributing factor to the below par first half performance by his side.

“It probably was a bit of pressure. They looked rusty, which is weird because they shouldn’t be at this stage in the season.

“What we did well is that we stuck to what they had to done and they kept on fighting. This provided for a really entertaining last 10 minutes, which was really nice for the spectators as well”. – MORGAN PIEK