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Olympic champions put five past SA women

Back-to-back Olympic champions The Netherlands beat the Investec South Africa women’s hockey team 5-0 on Saturday after leading 4-0 at half-time in the first match of a two-Test series.

The match forms part of the 11-match Hartleyvale Summer Series, which also includes Australia and Belgium, at Hartleyvale Stadium in Cape Town, reports Jon Cook.

A pair of goals apiece in the first half by captain Maartje Paumen and Kim Lammers unhinged the good work the SA team did in setting up a number of good opportunities, which the Dutch defence managed to scramble away. After the break, Paumen netted her hat-trick in the 63rd minute.

It was a special day for SA skipper Marsha Cox, as she celebrated her first wedding anniversary with husband Alexander Cox, the Dutch assistant coach. Marsha’s mother, Marion Marescia, an outstanding hockey player during the isolation era, and family came down from Johannesburg to be present at the happy occasion.

The Dutch scored as early as the second minute when Ellen Hoog stole around the right-hand baseline before feeding Lammers, who slipped the ball past goalkeeper Hanli Hattingh at the near post.

Both sides had chances at either end soon after before Marcelle Manson (n├®e Keet) did well to clear a dangerous ball away from the SA goalmouth. Play switched from strike zone to strike zone in quick succession, both sides making inroads down the outside channels.

In the 12th minute Hattingh saved well from Dutch skipper and drag-flick ace Paumen’s first penalty corner. Soon after, Cox speared an accurate pass to striker Sulette Damons, whose shot was blocked.

Shelly Russell set the crowd alight midway through the first half when her elusive running set up SA’s first PC. Pietie Coetzee’s effort forced another. World record Test match goalscorer Coetzee, Tarryn Bright and Kathleen Taylor then got in a succession of shots that the Dutch defence kept out.

Quanita Bobbs (in picture), Erin Hunter and Russell kept their composure to get SA out of trouble during a period of sustained Dutch pressure before Paumen popped the ball home from close-range in the 28th minute.

Bernie Coston Immediately came close at the other end but the 2008 and 2012 Olympic champs broke out in classic fashion in the 30th minute for Roos Drost to race down the left before Lammers finished off (3-0).

In the 34th minute Paumen sent a trademark PC drag-flick soaring into the net for 4-0 at half-time.

Six minutes after the changeover Cox fashioned a fine deflection pass to Coetzee from an initial play by Lisa Deetlefs but the sharpshooter’s reverse-stick strike under heavy pressure floated over the crossbar.

Replacement SA keeper Phume Mbande then palmed away a Paumen PC but the tempo slowed considerably and apart from another Dutch PC that SA did well to defend the action produced little reward until Paumen made it 5-0 and secured her hat-trick with a PC drag-flick low to Mbande’s right with seven minutes left (63rd).

De Goede got in a shot at the death but the score remained the same and the teams meet again on Monday at 7pm.

SA then meet Australia’s Hockeyroos in a three-Test series at Hartleyvale on Wednesday (7pm), Friday (7pm) and Saturday (4pm) next week before a six-Test series starts for the South Africans against Belgium on Sunday, January 26.

SA wore black armbands in honour of Western Province, SA and international hockey administrator Peter le Grange, who passed away recently.

The Netherlands (4) 5 (Kim Lammers 2nd, 30th, Maartje Paumen 28th, 34th, 63rd)

Investec South Africa: Marcelle Manson (n├®e Keet), Quanita Bobbs, Kelly Madsen, Sulette Damons, Bernie Coston, Marsha Cox (capt), Pietie Coetzee, Shelley Russell, Tarryn Bright, Lilian du Plessis, Kathleen Taylor, Phume Mbande, Hanli Hattingh, Illse Davids, Celia Evans, Lisa Deetlefs, Dirkie Chamberlain, Erin Hunter.
The Netherlands: Joyce Sombroek, Marloes Keetels, Malou Pheninckx, Willemijn Bos, Maria Verschoor, Caia Maasakker, Charlotte Vega, Maartje Paumen (capt), Ellen Hoog, Maartje Cox, Kim Lammers, Eva de Goede, Roos Drost, Merel de Blaey, Jacky Schoenaker, Margot van Geffen, Valerie Magis, Xan de Waard.
Umpires: Michelle Joubert and Tanya Schafer (South Africa).