There is much room for improvement but all is not lost for the Investec South Africa women’s hockey team as they go into the World League round two competition at Hartleyvale Stadium in Cape Town this week.
The fast, skilful double Olympian Shelley Russell is beginning to hit her straps down the left channel, and the younger sister of former Springbok rugby player Brent Russell’s combination with former SA junior sprint champion Sulette Damons in the middle, and fellow SA junior athletics star Bernie Coston on the right, will provide the ideal platform for Pietie Coetzee to tee off her trademark shots.
Indeed, the World League will give the SA team under returning captain Marsha Marescia the perfect opportunity to get into their stride before the ultimate test – the Investec Challenge from February 4 to 10 at Hartleyvale – which includes 2012 Olympic Games gold medallists and world number one Holland, and fellow hockey heavyweights England and Australia.
South Africa meet Ghana at 7pm Tuesday at Hartleyvale in their opening World League match, and the chances are that the Ghanaian goalkeeper will certainly be kept busy.
This encounter should provide a morale-boosting win for South Africa ahead of Wednesday’s 7pm Hartleyvale clash with their recent nemesis, Belgium, who wrapped up a 4-0 series whitewash with an exciting 3-2 victory at the home of hockey in the Western Cape on Saturday afternoon.
South Africa’s other matches in World League round two at Hartleyvale see them facing Azerbaijan next Saturday, January 26 and then Austria – who only lost 3-2 to Belgium in World League round one in Europe – next Sunday, January 27.
World League round two opens at 5 pm Monday when Ghana meet Azerbaijan before Belgium tackle Austria at 7 pm.
Investec South Africa Fixtures at the World League Round Two Competition, at the Hartleyvale Stadium in Cape Town: Tue 22 Jan: South Africa v Ghana Thu 24 Jan: South Africa v Belgium Sat 26 Jan: South Africa v Azerbaijan Mon Jan 27: South Africa v Austria The Investec South Africa Women’s Hockey Squad: Quanita Bobbs (Western Province) Tarryn Bright (Western Province) Jade Mayne (Western Province) Shelley Russell (Western Province) Dirkie Chamberlain (Northern Blues) Phume Mbande (Northern Blues) Nicolene Terblanche (Northern Blues) Pietie Coetzee (Southern Gauteng) Marcia Marescia (Captain) (Southern Gauteng) Bernie Coston (Southern Gauteng) Lisa Deetlefs (Southern Gauteng) Lilian du Plessis (Southern Gauteng) Sanani Mangisa (Southern Gauteng) Sulette Damons (North West) Marcelle Keet (Amathole/Border) Izelle Lategan (Free State) Kelly Madsen (KZN Coastal Raiders) Lenise Marais (KZN Coastal Raiders)
Investec SA v Belgium Series Fixtures and Results, in Cape Town: Jan 14: SA 1-2 Belgium Jan 16: SA 0-2 Belgium Jan 17: SA 1-2 Belgium Jan 19: SA 3-2 Belgium