The Investec South Africa women’s hockey team put in a much-improved performance against Great Britain in the second unofficial Test match on Friday, this time at the state-of the art Bisham Abby Olympic training centre but a combination of questionable umpiring decisions quality play saw them go down 3-0 after trailing 1-0 at the break, reports Jonathan Cook.
“A far better performance than yesterday’s 5-1 loss after the girls had had a very tiring day’s travelling and they played with fighting spirit and skill,” said SA selection chief Mickey Gordon.
After five minutes a weaving Anne Panter run and Helen Richardson shot saw SA keeper Sanani Mangisa close the gap and smother the chance before Kath Taylor shot wide at the other end as the girls in green and gold looked understandably sharper after the arduous travel schedule before the 5-1 defeat at the fabulous, unfinished, Riverbank Arena hockey stadium in Olympic Park.
In the 10th a hotly disputed penalty corner saw Mangisa execute a fine glove save from Kate Walsh’s drag-flick. SA played without Pietie Coetzee, Kate Woods, Tarryn Bright and Lauren Penny, who is nursing a shoulder injury, while Shelley Russell returned and was a thorn in GB’s side down the left wing. GB also had stellar players not on the pitch in Alex Danson and Crista Cullen.
In the 21st Sulette Damons showed good control in close confines before flicking into the sideboard and two minutes later great interplay earned SA’s first PC and Nicolene Terblanche’s powerful slap went wide of the far post.
Again, the umpiring left a feeling of frustration amongst the players and raised tempers made for an unnecessarily physical match that bordered on downright dangerous at times.
In the 27th there was a superb multi-save by Mangisa and clearance by the defence after a goalmouth melee. Two minutes later a goalmouth scramble was the stage for a highly controversial decision and Chloe Rogers made no mistake from the penalty stroke spot (1-0).
Turning around a goal down, Jade Mayne got in the first shot of the second half while Mariette Rix, who replaced Mangisa in goal, kept SA out of some tricky moments before another hotly argued blow gave GB a PC and Emily Maguire’s well-timed shot gave the girls in red a somewhat soft second goal in the 48th minute (2-0).
Then Laura Bartlett, the Scotland captain, snapped in a shot just wide as SA were struggling to relive defensive pressure, but did so with exquisite skill in the 55th and a superb move down the right with captain Marsha Marescia prominent in its instigation culminated in Jen Wilson coming agonisingly close.
GB made it 3-0 when Sally Walton displayed patience before her reverse-stick strike hit the backboard nine minutes from time (3-0). Scotland’s Abi Walker, on for number one Beth Storry in goal, saved twice from consecutive PCs before Jen Wilson’s well-struck shot brought an excellent Walker reflex save.