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Marsha’s girls miss medal

South Africa’s brave display in the women’s hockey competition at the Commonwealth Games came to an end against England at the Maj. Dhyan Chand National Stadium in New Delhi on Wednesday.

A deflected 13th minute goal from Georgie Twigg sealed the Proteas’ fate in the bronze medal play-off after some good work down the right hand flank and a cross by Crista Cullen.

But South Africa were certainly not disgraced in the 1-0 loss and can hold their heads high after fighting like Trojans to get back onto level pegging against the world’s fifth ranked side. SA, ranked 12th, launched wave after wave of attacks but England ‘keeper Beth Storry was equal to the task, coming up with a particularly fine save just before the break.

After the break England’s Kerry Williams went close in the 50th minute and also had a late chance of sealing victory after a one-on-one situation with the SA keeper but fired straight at Vuyisanani Mangisa.

South Africa’s cause was not helped when inspirational captain Marsha Marescia received a green-card warning in the 63rd minute, meaning she had to be extra cautious to avoid picking up a sin-binning.

England now continued their proud tradition of finishing on the podium for the fourth consecutive occasion at the Commonwealth Games.

In the semi-finals South Africa lost 1-0 to New Zealand and England went down by the same margin to Australia.

Meanwhile SA Hockey’s CEO, Marissa Langeni paid tribute to the national players on duty in India: “They all did really well┬áconsidering limited preparation due to little financial resources.

“I know Giles Bonnet [women’s coach] has a firm view that it is imperative, for a high success rate, that the ladies play top level competitive hockey throughout the year. This is why the top six in the world are so strong. Some of the ladies have already caught the eye of international clubs and Giles has been instrumental in promoting our players overseas.

“It’s his vision for the girls to play a minimum of 40 internationals a year.┬áThat’s what is needed to achieve the sort of results that are expected of us. This year we played just over half that number. But in order to be able to do that, we come to the old problem of funding.

“We’re so far┬áaway from the most competitive sector, namely Europe, as such it costs us an enormous amount of money to travel internationally. Teams like England could theoretically play an international every week if they wanted to. This is what we are up against.”