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Hubach hits two

It was business as usual as the Investec South African women’s hockey side beat Belgium 4-1 in the third Test in Bloemfontein on Monday night.

The Proteas led 2-1 at half-time lead and under the outstanding leadership of Marsha Marescia, lead the four-match series 3-0 going into Tuesday’s 3pm final match at the University of Free State with the freedom of knowing that the series is already in the bag.

Kim Hubach succeeded with two penalty corners for SA while Roxanne Turner, who has bravely fought back from a serious back injury, emphatically underlined that her prowess as a goalscoring forward has not diminished in the slightest with two well-taken strikes from field play.

Player of the Match, midfielder Shelley Russell, epitomised the confidence of this SA side and was a constant thorn in the Belgians’ sides.

The outstanding Anouk Raes replied with a penalty corner for the brave Europeans, who gave everything they had in a bid to keep the series alive.

The result hands SA their fourth consecutive series win in the Investec International Series. In last month’s Johannesburg leg, the 12th-ranked South Africans beat the world’s fourth-ranked China 5-1 in the six Tests at Wanderers Club and Kaspersky Randburg Hockey Stadium.

Before beating the reigning Asian Games champions in Johannesburg, head coach Giles Bonnet’s girls had whitewashed world No14 Azerbaijan 5-0 at the same venues.

Marescia’s side then beat China 2-1 in the three-Test series at UFS.

The Belgians played with tremendous spirit and no doubt in the back of their minds was the prospect of treating Valerie Vermeesch to a triumphant 100th Test match appearance. But SA were having nothing of it and have now stretched the sequence to 16 victories in their last 18 internationals. It was also particularly impressive because they had to do without two of their key players.

Goalscoring machine Pietie Coetzee and outstanding forward Kathleen Taylor have been forced to miss the last two matches of the series due to pressing study commitments, so what was really impressive was the confident manner in which SA got on with the job of dominating this match.