A 1-0 half-time lead grew into a 4-0 victory for the Investec South Africa women’s hockey team in the third Test against Scotland in Pretoria on Sunday.
After 5-3 and 4-2 wins in the opening Tests, Sunday’s victory means South Africa have won the series with two Tests still to play.
South Africa’s goals came from on-song striker Celia Evans (33rd and 52nd minutes), confident debutant Toni Marks of Eastern Province (50th) and double Olympian Kathleen Taylor (69th).
For Durban’s Kelly Madsen it was a special day, her 100th Test match, as well as yet another milestone in the remarkable hockey story of her family, which boasts national players going into double figures.
While it could be argued that the fourth Test (Tuesday, 6.30pm) and the fifth and final Test match (1.30pm Wednesday) are now devoid of intensity, nothing is further from the truth.
World No11 side South Africa fly to Buenos Aires Wednesday night for a five-Test series against world number two Argentina and the latter two Test matches against Scotland are not insignificant cogs in head coach Giles Bonnet’s greater preparations for the World Cup and Commonwealth Games.
For their part, the Scots are working very hard ahead of the Champions Challenge and Commonwealth Games tournaments that are set to be held in their very own Glasgow and they will be determined to give a good account of themselves with this bigger picture in mind.
Scotland certainly had their moments Sunday but the SA defence were generally up to the task of containing the threat – and while the penalty corner count was shared four apiece, it was South Africa’s confident finishing, especially from open play, that impressed.
The assuredness and self-belief of the SA strikers ÔÇô and indeed across all three lines, from defenders to the engine room to those upfront ÔÇô has been a feature of this series.
It is unfair to single out just one player in what was an impressive display by a host of South Africans but it would be remiss not to mention the superb Nicolene Terblanche, the Pretorian whose sheer energy and all-round contribution was a tonic ÔÇô and contagious to her team-mates.
Scotland were disappointing, yet there are positives enough to give mentor Gordon Shepherd and his girls heart.