Win not enough for SA

2008-02-29 00:00

SOUTH Africa beat Russia 5-1 in the Spar Cup Three Nations at Randburg Hockey Stadium yesterday.

Despite the Spar SA team's third win of the six-day tournament, which also includes Canada, coach Jenny King was again critical of the performance against the Russians. On Monday, unbeaten SA beat Russia 6-0 - an effort that King rated four out of 10, but she gave her team a three for yesterday's match.

At this stage of the build-up to August's Olympics in Beijing, King is concentrating the team's gruelling training sessions and Test matches on performance rather than results.

'We were poor,' said King. 'It was one of the worst performances in 18 months. There was no urgency and no toughness on the ball. We trained for two hours in the morning and had a specific plan in mind, and the players didn't reproduce any of it. There were some positives, though. At times I saw the strikers doing the right thing.'

Former England assistant coach Ian Jennings, the Spar SA team's technical adviser at this tournament, felt that the team's performance line had dropped.

'Although the players will be disappointed, there were glimpses of play that will give them real encouragement,' Jennings said. 'Some areas of play were very sloppy, though, and it will be unacceptable to them.'

Jennings and King said they both have no time for mediocrity.

In consistent defender Taryn Hosking's 75th Test match, Spar SA opened the scoring when player of the match Tarryn Bright drove strongly upfield and offloaded to Henna du Buisson.

Lesle-Ann George's skills produced some thrilling moments, before a neat Kathleen Taylor/Bright one-two saw Dirkie Chamberlain net the rebound.

The 2-0 half-time margin became 3-0 two minutes after the break, as Bright bagged yet another goal.

Russia hit back with a powerful penalty corner by Nadezhda Chegurdaeva, before Spar SA made it 4-1 through Vida Ryan and added another from Kate Hector.

Remaining matches:

Today: Russia vs Canada (4 pm); Saturday: Spar SA vs Canada (3 pm).

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