SA women in thrilling draw

Kathleen Taylor (Gavin Withers - ACTION PIX)
Kathleen Taylor (Gavin Withers - ACTION PIX)
Cape Town - The South Africa women’s hockey team and Belgium drew 2-2 in a thrilling third Test of the six-Test series at Hartleyvale on Wednesday.

The scores were level at 1-1 at the break.

The match was a triumph for double Olympian Kathleen Taylor, in her 200th Test match, who was outstanding in an attacking role just behind the strikers.

Four minutes from the end (66th minute) Celia Evans passed inside to the outstanding, fast-running Taylor, who finished off the move when she slammed her shot into the backboard behind goalkeeper Elena Sotgiu for the 2-2 final score of a pulsating Test match.

The earlier goals came when Taylor won the ball and passed inside to Sulette Damons, who made no mistake for a 1-0 advantage to SA in the 18th minute, much against the run of play.

In the 28th minute, Belgian equalised through a rocket slap-shot by Stephanie de Groof from a penalty corner. Four minutes after half-time, Manon Simons had made it 2-1 to Belgium with time aplenty to make sure of her shot.

With SA having won the first Test 6-0 after a superb display and Belgium bouncing back via a deserved 2-0 win in the second international, Wednesday’s third Test held many imponderables.

SA were without world record Test match goalscorer Pietie Coetzee for the third time while Marcelle Manson missed her second match, both suffering from illness, and another hugely experienced player and leader, Lenise Marais (ankle) was also indisposed so the South Africans were up against it.

South Africa could only field 16 players instead of the allotted 18 (11 on-field and seven rolling subs) and it was always going to be an uphill battle. Their eighth Test in 12 days, alongside a strenuous training schedule, had resulted in casualties, while Belgium were fresh and in just their third Test.

A Western Province Invitation team and star-studded Dutch Hoofdklasse side Amsterdam meet at 19:00 on Thursday night while the fourth Test between SA and Belgium is at 19:00 on Friday night.

Fixtures: (all at Hartleyvale)

Thursday - Men’s international friendly: WP Invitation vs Amsterdam HC  (19:00)
4th Test Friday (19:00)
5th Test Sunday (16:00)
6th Test Monday, 3 Feb (19:00)

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England 219
Pakistan 326 & 137/8 (44 ov)
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England 219
Pakistan 326 & 137/8 (44 ov)
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