SA’s pacy goalgetter to play in 100th Test

2012-10-06 00:00

WITH her 100th Test match in store this morning, it has happened at an astonishing speed that is in keeping with the acceleration which has made South Africa women’s hockey team striker Sulette Damons arguably the fastest forward in world hockey.

Sulette “Sula” Damons, turning 23 this month, and the new-look South Africa team tackle India in the Champions Challenge at 11 am (SA time) today in a bid to qualify for tomorrow’s fifth place playoff.

The match will be televised live on SuperSport 5. There will also be coverage on Twitter @FIH_Hockey.

The pacy goalgetter made her debut at the September 2010 Hockey World Cup in Argentina and scored the goal of the tournament in her first appearance.

Speaking at the team hotel in Dublin yesterday, Sula said her aim was always to reach the milestone, but never dreamt it would happen so quickly, saying: “In two years, that’s unbelievable.

“My mom has always been an inspiration and my 100th is for her.”

Damons has managed to combine her hectic hockey schedule with studies at University of North West in Potchefstroom and is now in the first year of an education degree, having already earned a degree in sports science.

“It’s going well and I am really enjoying it,” said the former Eastern Province schoolgirl.

As a child, Damons used to race her pet dog Tommy Lee around the family house in Graaff-Reinet and India’s back three are not going to relish combating that speed today.

Meanwhile, Investec South Africa head coach Giles Bonnet was pleased with the team’s first-half performance in the 2-1 quarter- ­final defeat to tournament favourites Australia on Thursday.

“The first half was good, probably our best hockey, which is pleasing with this young group,” said the Amsterdam-based coach. “I was chuffed with the energy and pressure we brought, we should have made it 2-1 in the first half, had a lot of players free in the circle.”

Bonnet said the second half was not on the same level.

“We didn’t need to give the 2-1 away, that penalty corner [goal] was unnecessary, and then we had chances, not in terms of goal shots but around the 25, where we can make better decisions, bring the ball more effectively into the circle, which we are busy working with.

“I hope we put together the same type of performance against India and if we have the same pressure and quality of play as in the first half against Australia, I think we could see something against India with the team we have.”

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