SA hockey women win series with two Tests to go

2014-02-17 00:00

A 1-0 HALF-TIME lead turned into a 4-0 victory for the Investec South Africa women’s hockey team in the third Test against Scotland at Tshwane University of Technology yesterday.

After 5-3 and 4-2 wins in the opening Tests, yesterday’s victory means South Africa have won the series with two Tests still to play.

SA’s goals came from on-song striker Celia Evans (33rd and 52nd minutes), confident debutant Toni Marks of Eastern Province (50th) and double Olympian Kathleen Taylor (69th).

For Durban’s Kelly Madsen it was a special day — her 100th Test match — as well as yet another milestone in the remarkable hockey story of her family, which boasts national players going into double figures.

While it could be argued that the fourth Test (6.30 pm tomorrow) and the fifth and final Test match (1.30 pm Wednesday) are now devoid of intensity, nothing is further from the truth.

World number 11 South Africa fly to Buenos Aires on Wednesday night for a five-Test series against world number two Argentina and the latter two Test matches against Scotland are not insignificant cogs in head coach Giles Bonnet’s greater preparations for the World Cup and Commonwealth Games.

For their part, the Scots are working very hard ahead of the Champions Challenge and Commonwealth Games tournaments that are set to be held in their very own Glasgow and they will be determined to give a good account of themselves with this bigger picture in mind.

Scotland certainly had their moments yesterday but the SA defence was generally up to the task of containing the threat, and while the penalty corner count was shared four apiece, it was South Africa’s confident finishing, especially from open play, that impressed.

The assuredness and self-belief of the SA strikers — and indeed across all three lines, from defenders to the engine room to those upfront — has been a feature of this series.

It would be remiss not to mention the superb Nicolene Terblanche, the Pretorian whose sheer energy and all-round contribution was a tonic — and contagious only to her team-mates.

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