England and the Investec South African women’s hockey team were level-pegging 1-1 at half-time at Hartleyvale Stadium in Cape Town Saturday, before SA scored twice in the second half for a 3-1 victory in the international friendly ahead of the high-profile Investec Challenge.
England’s Joe Leigh opened the scoring in the first minute before Bernie Coston equalised in the 29th, but it was the second-half goals of Tarryn Bright, that put SA in front in the 44th minute, and Lilian du Plessis, that made it a 3-1 win for SA a minute from the final whistle.
In the final outing before the Investec Challenge kicks off on Monday, SA rested world record goalscorer Pietie Coetzee (258 goals in 258 Test matches), and brought back the 302-times capped Marsha Marescia, who is co-captain with Lenise Marais for the Investec Challenge.
The English started like a house on fire and Sarah Haycroft initiated an attack from between her 23-metre line and halfway, relayed the ball to captain on the day Susie Gilbert, who in turn fed Beckie Herbert, and Herbert’s powerful, early cross from the right found Jo Leigh for the forward to connect first time past brilliant SA goalkeeper Sanani Mangisa (1-0).
SA pressed hard immediately, and in the process won four penalty corners during a sustained period.
Parity came in the 29th minute when Shelley Russell hit a superb through-ball to Bernie Coston, who made ground in going on to score a fine goal (1-1).
England won their first PC two minutes from half-time, but a logging Mangisa saved comfortably.
Play swung to and fro in a busy second half and in the 44th minute it was Tarryn Bright who put SA ahead with a neat backhand shot (2-1). Sulette Damons hit the post and Mangisa made some fine interventions before Lilian du Plessis’ goal in the last minute left SA 3-1 winners.
Unofficial Internationals: Tues, 29 Jan 6 pm: South Africa 4-0 Australia Thurs, 31 Jan 6 pm: England 1-3 Australia Thurs, 31 Jan 8 pm: South Africa 0-2 Holland Saturday, 2 Feb 6 pm: South Africa 3-1 England Saturday, 2 Feb 8 pm: Holland vs Australia Match Schedule for the Upcoming Investec Challenge: Mon, 4 Feb 6 pm: Holland vs Australia Mon, 4 Feb 8 pm: South Africa vs England Tues, 5 Feb 6 pm: Holland vs England Tues, 5 Feb 8 pm: South Africa vs Australia Thurs, 7 Feb 6 pm: England vs Australia Thurs, 7 Feb 8 pm: South Africa v s Holland Sat, 9 Feb 3 pm: Semi-Final 1 Sat, 9 Feb 5 pm: Semi-Final 2 Sun, 10 Feb 3 pm: Bronze Medal Match Sun, 10 Feb 5 pm: Gold Medal Match The Preceding FIH World League Round 2 Match Schedule and Results at the Hartleyvale: Mon, 21 Jan: Azerbaijan 4-0 Ghana Mon, 21 Jan: Belgium 8-0 Austria Tues, 22 Jan: Azerbaijan 2-1 Austria Tues, 22 Jan: South Africa 6-0 Ghana Thurs, 24 Jan 5 pm: Austria 2-1 Ghana Thurs, 24 Jan 7 pm: South Africa 3-2 Belgium Sat, 26 Jan 4 pm: Belgium 7-1 Ghana Sat, 26 Jan 6 pm: South Africa 7-0 Azerbaijan Sun, 27 Jan 4 pm: Belgium 1-0 Azerbaijan Sun, 27 Jan 6 pm: South Africa 2-0 Austria The Preceding Investec SA v Belgium Series 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