The world number-12 ranked Investec South Africa women’s hockey team took their 2012 London Olympic Games preparation a step further when they tackled the Great Britain women’s Olympic hockey team at the official London 2012 hockey venue on Thursday afternoon.
Great Britain beat SA 5-1 after leading 2-0 at half-time in the unofficial Test match at the still-to-be-completed Riverbank Arena in London’s unfinished Olympic Park, before SA won the practice penalty shoot-out 4-0.
SA are in the process of finalising their team selection for the Olympics, while GB have named their team, the first country to do so. Pietie Coetzee, Tarryn Bright, Kate Woods, Shelley Russell and Lauren Penny were those in the 20-player squad named Wednesday for the three-week UK tour who did not play. GB also rested players, including Crista Cullen.
GB scored through Kate Walsh (2), Ash Ball, Chloe Rogers and Helen Richardson, while Kathleen Taylor scored for SA.
The splendid Riverbank Arena hockey stadium, venue for the London 2012 men’s and women’s hockey competitions, was empty save for a couple of construction workers but it gave the girls in green and gold the chance to get a taste of what is to come.
Captain Marsha Marescia’s squad have been working hard in Amsterdam this past month and the team that will take part in the three-week UK trip will be named Wednesday, and the selected players will then fly across to London.
Coach Giles Bonnet’s team face world number four Great Britain in a second unofficial test against Great Britain on Friday at 3.30 pm (SA time) Friday, at Bisham Abbey.
SA’s world number 12 team then move on the Clydesdale Hockey Club in Glasgow and a five-Test official series against world-number 18, Scotland. The matches are at 3.30 pm (SA time) Sunday, the same time Monday, at 8.30 pm next Wednesday, the same time on the Thursday and at 3.30 pm next Friday.
The girls in green and gold then return to Chiswick in London for the Investec London Cup that features world-number 1, the Netherlands, #3 Germany, #4 Great Britain, #7 Australia and #14 Ireland.