England won the first match of the second Summer Series 5-2 against South Africa at Hartlevyale, Cape Town on Thursday.
The halftime score was 2-1 in the visitors’ favour.
Germany are the third country involved in the series.
Even though England scored five goals – two of them in the last three minutes – the South African defence gave a good account of itself.
But it was obvious that the home team lacked firepower at the sharp end of the field. While England were dangerous every time they got close to the goal circle, South Africa’s attack didn’t make the same impact.
The only real chances of scoring in the first chukka were created by England. The visitors had a penalty corner and then another chance with 20 seconds left, with only the goalkeeper to beat. But in both cases Rassie Pieterse, keeper and captain, guarded the goal-box with great success.
No surprise then that the disappointment was immense when England scored two goals in less than two minutes into the second quarter. Sam Ward, playing his in 50th game for his country, scored first, and then Christopher Griffiths hit the back of the goal-box.
In the 20th minute South Africa got one back when Jonty Robinson scored a penalty. The penalty stroke was rewarded after a well-constructed penalty corner, which had England’s defence scrabbling and forced the error.
After 40 minutes of play England scored again, this time through Michael Hoare.
In the final chukka South Africa scored a great goal. Robinson hit a long pass from the halfway line and striker Bili Ntuli was in the perfect position to thrust out his stick for the deflection to hit the back of the goal-box.
South Africa’s replacement goalkeeper Gowan Jones was made to work very hard in the final quarter. David Goodfield got one past him with just over two minutes left to play and then Liam Ansell scored the last goal.
Rusten Abrahams was the only South African to make his debut, while some 10 players from England got the opportunity to play for their country for the first time.
South Africa’s next game is against Germany on Sunday (4pm).
The rest of the schedule: Saturday @ 16:00 – England v Germany; Sunday @ 16:00 – South Africa v Germany; Monday @ 18:00 – South Africa v England; Wednesday @ 18:00 England v Germany; Thursday @ 18:00 – South Africa v Germany.