sixth time lucky for SA women’s hockey team

2012-05-29 00:00

THE South Africa women’s hockey team broke a five-match drought against Scotland to win the second Test 2-1 at Clydesdale Hockey Club in Glasgow yesterday after leading 1-0 at half time.

SA now lead the five-Test series 1-0 after the first Test was drawn 2-2 on Sunday. The second Test was a much more convincing performance, as captain Marsha Marescia had predicted.

SA went into the break 1-0 up after striker Sulette Damons buried a penalty corner rebound off in-form goalkeeper Amy Gibson’s pads in the 23rd minute; this after Shelley Russell had initially opened up some space for Damons to win the team’s sixth PC.

The Scots’ best chance to score was on the counter-attack, and three minutes after half time they equalised through Sam Judge with their first shot of the match. The winner came from Jen Wilson in the 55th minute when a Damons pass gave the SA forward the time and space to pick her spot.

The South Africans undergo gruelling two-hour training sessions on match days and have two such sessions scheduled on today’s “rest” day, so they are playing through the fatigue in preparation for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

SA were all over the Scots in the first half and earned six penalty corners to none as well as a series of goalscoring opportunities from field play as they peppered the opposition goalmouth with a series of creative attacks but the Scots defended with determination and Gibson pulled off a number of great saves.

The South Africans were adept at stringing a sequence of passes together and it was the way to go; letting the ball do the work on a blistering hot day in Glasgow. The second half saw Scotland get a bit more of the ball but the determined girls in green and gold played through the fatigue to break two defeats and three draws against the Scots in their previous five meetings.

SA were missing world record goal-scorer Pietie Coetzee and fellow double Olympian Kate Woods, who are scheduled to join the team later in the week, as well as striker Lauren Penny (shoulder injury). Scotland are also missing players in the form of their four Great Britain Olympic squad members.

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