GREAT Britain Men battled to a 3-3 draw with hosts South Africa in the third and final match of their three-match training series in Stellenbosch on Saturday afternoon.
GB had led 2-0 at the break, but let their lead slip before stabilising and hitting back for a draw which sees them level the series with a win and a draw each.
Good approach play down the left led to East Grinstead’s Mark Pearn (pictured) firing home from ten yards out, just to the left of the circle to give GB the lead after 15 minutes.
Just three minutes later that lead was doubled when Barry Middleton scored. A great cross-field pass from Alastair Wilson gave Middleton the chance to advance into the circle, from where he flicked the ball high right past the advancing goalkeeper Pieterse.
GB held that lead to the break, but four minutes into the second half South Africa hit back, Wade Paton scoring from their second penalty corner when he flicked powerfully past James Fair, giving him no chance.
And five minutes later the hosts were level, with Lloyd Norris-Jones netting the 44th minute goal. But worse was to come for GB.
A minute later, South Africa took the lead for the first time in the game with Julian Hykes pouncing on indecision in GB’s defence to fire home at the far post after a quick cross from Harper on the left.
However, East Grinstead’s Mark Gleghorne flicked powerfully to the right of the goalkeeper at a 59th minute penalty corner to salvage a draw for Great Britain.
“We controlled the game effectively in the first half,” said Team Manager Andy Halliday. “But we paid the price for a very sloppy first ten minutes after half time.
“However, it was good to see the character of the group shine through as we battled back to grab an equaliser, and we could’ve snatched a winner near the end.
“This has been a gruelling two-week camp for the players, but I thought they showed good resilience in their attitude and approach to the game today.”
* The team’s training continues for a few days before they return home, and they will also go to some of the townships around Cape Town as part of a Sports Festival where they will visit some of the local schoolchildren.