SA hockey women put up a fight
The South African women’s hockey team recovered from a thumping defeat in their opening match to produce a much-improved performance in their 3-2 defeat by world number four Great Britain at Bisham Abbey on Tuesday night.
The tourists had lost 6-0 in the first unofficial Test against their hosts.
Britain opened the scoring after 11 minutes through a soft, yet well-taken effort against the run of play that was finished off by the influential Chloe Rogers.
The hosts went 2-0 up from their first penalty corner four minutes later, with Crista Cullen firing at the far post for corner injector Ashleigh Ball to deflect in.
South African striker Sulette Damons hobbled off after being struck a fearful blow to the foot, but her side soldiered on.
Seven minutes from half-time, world record goalscorer Pietie Coetzee pulled one back for her team’s second penalty corner, which she steered past British keeper Beth Storry.
Britain, however, regained their two-goal cushion soon after when Rogers shrugged off tackles in a crowded area near the right baseline before Alex Danson finished off from close range.
South Africa’s keeper, Mariette Rix, made several good saves in the match to keep the tourists in the game and penalty corners three and four soon after the changeover culminated in a powerful Kate Woods slap shot, reducing the deficit to 3-2.
Damons finally returned to the fray after treatment and the match heated up considerably as both sides went in search of victory, but the hosts held on for the win.
South Africa face Germany in their opening match of the four-nations series in Bremen on Thursday.