Gryphon Sponsored Coach Andy Mellor is on tour as the manager of the Australian Schoolboys Team in their tour of South Africa. Here is the 2nd instalment of their tour ::
Wednesday 6th July – 1st Test Match
In front of a parochial and at times hostile South African crowd (With up to 24 teams competing in the South African Under 16 Inter Provincial Championship making up the crowd) the Australian Schoolboys have secured a gutsy 3-2 win over their more physical opponents in the first of three test matches.
The Aussie Boys started the better of the two teams, controlling the play and attacking with plenty of vigour. In a perfect opening a penalty corner break down deflected off a defender to an unmarked Shayne Smith tapping the ball home on the left hand post in the 3rd minute, Australia 1-0. In the 8th minute the South Africans found a hole in the Australian defence with James Drummond finding himself one-on-one against Australian keeper James Olsen, with Olsen making an excellent diving save low to his left. The Aussie boys were rewarded for their excellent play winning a penalty corner in the 15th minute. James Knee was on hand to put the ball away after Nick Hill’s initial shot was saved by Hendrik Kroukamp, Australia 2-0. This seemed to spark the South African’s into action, and they began to physically impose themselves on the game. Hand injuries to Jack Elliott, Jadium Rees and Shayne Smith proved costly, as the South Africans worked their way back into the match. In the 21st minute the South Africans secured their only penalty corner of the match, however the flick from Michael Mulder went wide. A defensive lapse in the 35th minute allowed the South Africans to score from a deflection through Cerezo Comerasamy,Australia 2-1 at half-time.
The second half represented a seesaw battle, as both teams tentatively looked to take advantage of the other. The Aussie boys drew first blood when Jadium Rees converted a penalty corner in the 48th minute, after some good build up work from Kyle Gildea, Australia 3-1. The physicality of the South Africans seemed to shock the Aussie Boys as they went into their shell, and began to lose focus on the match. 2 Cards, the first a questionable yellow to Shayne Smith in the 59th minute, and a Green to Nick Hill in the 61st minute reduced the Australians to 9 players. The South Africans seized this opportunity and finally penetrated the Australian defence with Ignatius Malgraff putting the ball away in the 62nd minute, Australia 3-2. This set the match up for a frantic final few minutes, with both teams having opportunities, but neither able to convert. The South Africans pushed hard as time wound down, but the Aussie boys hung on to record a gutsy 3-2 win, and take a 1-0 lead in the 3 test series..
Australian Schoolboys 3 – 2 South Africa U18
Goalscorers: James Knee, Jadium Rees, Shayne Smith
Best Players: Jadium Rees, Kyle Gildea, Matthew Munnik
Thursday 7th July – 2nd Test
The Australian Schoolboys team has taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in the 3 test series against South Africa U18, after winning the 2nd Test 4-3 in Pretoria.
With several key players carrying injuries the Aussie boys didn’t look their normal ruthless self, and took a back seat as South Africa scored in the 12th minute with Ignatius Malgraff finishing off some good teamwork South Africa 1-0. The Aussie boys looked to respond and with the introduction of the tenacious James Knee and Stuart Shepherd up front took the upper hand. In the 17th minute Jadium Rees made no mistake from the penalty corner mark, scores level 1-1. South African goalkeeper Bernard Greybe made some excellent saves keeping SA in the game as the teams headed for half-time deadlocked at 1-1.
The second half started like the first with South Africa taking control early, a turnover and some neat passing saw Grant Glutz diving at full stretch to deflect the ball home in the 39th minute, South Africa 2-1 up and the crowd coming to life. The Aussie boys responded well with some good work from Harry Page and a goal mouth scramble from Brandan Horner earning a penalty stroke converted by Jack Elliott, scores level 2-2. The Aussie boys began to press well and the South Africans began to make mistakes. James Knee followed up a rebound from Nick Hill’s initial shot in the 49th minute to put Australia 3-2 in front. To the credit of the South Africans they continued to persevere and in the 64th minute won a penalty corner following a midfield turnover. Grant Glutz promptly placed the ball low to the keepers right and scores were level again 3-3. As the game ebbed and flowed the game was there for the taking, the Aussie boys seemed to have the measure of the counterparts but couldn’t find the goal they needed. A superb run from Luke Tyne through the midfield caught the South African defence off guard and a neat slip pass to Nick Hill was rewarded with a penalty corner in the 68th minute for a blatant deliberate push outside the circle. Jadium Rees promptly delivered the goal to seal victory 4-3.
Australian Schoolboys 4 – 3 South Africa U18
Goalscorers: Jadium Rees 2, Jack Elliott, James Knee
Best Players: Jadium Rees, James Knee, Luke Tyne
Friday 8th July – 3rd Test
A wounded Australian Schoolboys team will leave South Africa undefeated after a gallant comeback in the 3rd and final test against the South African Under 18 team. With vice-captain Jadium Rees injured and Captain Jack Elliott struggling with a virus, the rest of the team pulled together to draw 2-2, and almost pinched the match at the death.
After a poor start that had goalkeeper James Olsen working overtime, the Aussie boys finally clicked into gear with James Knee scoring for the 3rd consecutive test with a diving field goal in the 24th minute after some excellent end to end play starting with Sam Liles and involving Nick Hill, Luke Tyne, Tom Craig and Harry Page, 1-0.
South Africa responded almost immediately with a well worked penalty corner goal to James Drummond in the 26th minute, 1-1. South Africa closed out the half with a well worked transfer of the ball finding Grant Glutz unmarked with literally seconds left on the clock, 1-2 at halftime.
The Aussie boys responded well after halftime, clicking into gear. In the 38th minute with another end to end goal, starting with a well worked overhead from Luke Tyne finding Shayne Smith in space who released the ball to James Knee who crossed for a diving Harry Page to put the ball away, 2-2. The match started to open up as both teams tentatively searched for the goal that could be the winner. The defences of both teams worked overtime. Tom Craig had two opportunities to win the match, the first a reverse stick shot after breaking into the top of the circle that hit the inside of the post, and the penultimate play of the match that found him with little space one on one with South African keeper Bernard Greybe with less than a minute remaining. However the South African keeper kept his feet and managed to deflect the ball out of play. The match ending in a 2-2 draw with Australia winning the 3 test series 2-0.
In an exhibition finish both sides took part in a One-on-one penalty shootout. James Olsen in goals was outstanding for the Australians, conceding only 1 goal as he forced the South Africans to shoot from wide angles. For the Aussie Boys, Tom Craig, Ross Hall, Shayne Smith and Luke Tyne all converted to give the Australians a 4-1 win in the shootout!
Australian Schoolboys 2 – 2 South Africa U18
Goalscorers: James Knee, Harry Page
Best Players: Luke Tyne, James Olsen, James Knee, Sam Liles