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Eight is enough for SA women

After a tentative start, the Investec South Africa women’s hockey team got back on track in beating Wales 8-2 on the final day of round-robin action at the Investec Cup at London’s national hockey stadium late on Saturday after leading 4-0 at half-time.

The victory will no doubt be a huge confidence booster ahead of the Commonwealth Games in Scotland later this month.

SA needed an emphatic win to ensure a place in Sunday’s gold medal match against world No 6 England.

SA’s shaky start was put right in the sixth minute when the in-form attacking midfielder Shelley Russell embarked on a left-to-right diagonal run into the strike zone before a clinical backhand finish set her team 1-0 to the good.

A Celia Evans goal in the 10th after a rebound off goalkeeper Ria Male’s leg guards following a Lisa Deetlefs’ penalty corner slap shot put SA 2-0 ahead before first Bernie Coston and then Wales’ Joanne Westwood showed enormous commitment to clear off their respective goal-lines.

Then in the 21st the inspired Russell skinned the Welsh defence around the outside before flipping a pass to the perfectly placed Jade Mayne who tapped in on the reverse stick for 3-0.

In the 25th the on-song Illse Davids found time and space to rifle the sweetest of backhands into the back of the net (see her celebration in far right of picture) and SA had established a comfy four-goal cushion.

Davids was struck a fearful blow three seconds from half-time and had to limp off but the Capetonian and her team-mates had done enough to set up Sunday’s 6.15pm date for gold with old foes England.

A brace of second-half goals by Tarryn Bright ÔÇô a 38th minute PC and a 58th minute strike from field play ÔÇô added to Kathleen Taylor’s goalshot in the 42nd and fellow forward Dirkie Chamberlain’s success following a PC in the 52nd put the issue beyond doubt.

Two Welsh goals via the PC route, from Emma Batten in the 45th and Eloise Laity in the 70th and final minute, might have unsettled the SA camp a touch as the final countdown to the battle with the English began in earnest.

The SA men play Scotland for the bronze medal.

Picture: ADY KERRY