For those that don’t know my full-time profession is not hockey journalism, but rather something where numbers are very important. As such I have always enjoyed the statistical side of sport and thanks to TMS and less sleep that comes from having a four month old child at home, I got into a bit of number crunching on the remarkable 103 test matches that Lennie Botha has overseen as head coach of the SPAR South Africa Indoor Hockey side.
Before we dive into the numbers it should be remembered that Botha can add another 20 caps as head coach of the men’s side in the early days of International Indoor Hockey, so has a remarkable achievement of 123 caps for South Africa. Unfortunately, I don’t have all the stats for the time with the men so the analysis below is purely on the time with the Women’s team.
For a man who has been involved at the highest level for a long time, it is refreshing to see how Botha is interested in developing himself further, challenging himself and gaining experience from everyone he faces. He will probably be frustrated that I wrote this post, because he prefers the talking to be done about his players. His tenure has been remarkable and its important that we pay tribute where we should. Here are some of the most remarkable stats from a wonderful century of test matches.
- Jessica O’Connor is the most used player by Lennie Botha having played in all 103 test matches. That is comfortably the longest consecutive run in the team and a record that will be difficult to be broken
- O’Connor (103), Cindy Hack (90), Kara Botes (79), Amy Greaves (77) & Kelly Reed (52) are the players most used by Botha
- 43 players earned test caps for South Africa in the 103 tests. The most recent to do so was Kayla de Waal who made her debut against Switzerland
- The team have played in 21 test series / tournaments under Botha. Winning 15 of them and sharing two.
- Since the African Cup in 2017 the team have not lost a series / tournament they have entered (10)
- South Africa have scored 478 goals (Ave: 4.64 per game) and conceded just 194 (Ave: 1.88)
- They have won 74 tests, drawn 12 and lost 17 (winning Ratio 71.8%)
- South Africa have played 18 different nations with only Belarus, Canada, Czech Republic, Netherlands and Poland having positive results ratio against SA.
- South Africa recorded a biggest win of 21-0 against Slovenia at the 2018 Croatia Cup tournament. At the time it was the highest indoor hockey result recorded on TMS.
- South Africa have only conceded double figures in a test match twice, both at the 2015 World Cup. They have scored double figures on six occasions against four different countries.
- South Africa have kept 25 clean sheets in the 103 test matches.
- There have been 24 goal scorers for SPAR South Africa, the top six in this time have been Cindy Hack (93), Kara Botes (85), Celia Evans (36), Tegan Fourie (36), Jess O’Connor (33) & Eloise Walters (33)
- There are now five players with more than 50 caps (O’Connor, Hack, Botes, Reed and Amy Greaves), with Eloise Walters (49), Jamie Southgate (48), Cheree Greyvenstein (44) and Celia Evans (44) not far away.
- Jess O’Connor and Cindy Hack have both reached 100 caps for South Africa
I love playing with statistics and those above are the ones I found the best. This is a wonderful team that Botha has built which I have been fortunate enough to see first-hand when on tour with the team to Croatia, Zimbabwe, Namibia and in South Africa. What stands out for me is the family culture within the team and the commitment of the players to the challenge. The pride of representing our country is always evident and they are a team that make me a proud South African. I look forward to seeing them in action