Positive 4-Nations Result

by | Jun 18, 2007

With a deserved 5-2 win over the South African national women’s hockey team, Germany has won the inaugural Women’s Setanta Sports Trophy in Dublin on Sunday, with hosts Ireland claiming third position after defeating Scotland 2-1.

“Overall we were outclassed by a better team,” a resolute national coach Jenny King told gsport after the match’s conclusion. “We did get our opportunities, we came back after being 2-0 down. (But) their ability is just far superior to ours, and it showed in the end result.”

South Africa’s results in the tournament began with a nil-all draw against Ireland on Wednesday, followed by a narrow 1-0 loss to tournament favourites Germany on Friday, a 2-1 win over Scotland on Saturday, and ended in the final climax against Germany on Sunday.

In the final match, Germany were quickly on the board, when Maike Stoeckel opened the scoring in the 4th minute for a 1-0 opener, which Natascha Keller doubled in the 18th minute when she steered a backhand shot past the unsighted South African keeper.


South Africa
did well to come back in the latter part of the first half, and were unfortunate not to have scored from a penalty corner in the final play of the half.

The positive impetuses continued in the second half, when South Africa again unlucky not to score early on, but were team’s persistence was rewarded when Leslie-Anne George fed the ball back into the circle after a cleared short corner, for Shelly Russell to find the box from close range with fifteen minutes remaining.

The Olympic champions responded forcefully, forcing three short corners in the next five minutes, and converted two of them for 4-1 lead, first when Anke Kuhn’s drag flick found the top left-hand corner of the goal, followed shortly when Fanny Rinne’s drag flick added another sharp chance off the goalie’s pads.

Once again
South Africa applied pressure, and
Germany conceded another two short corners in the final 10 minutes, and when

South Africa
was awarded a penalty stroke for an illegal tackle at the second opportunity, captain Marsha Marescia made no mistake from the spot flick for the score to read 4-2.


Germany
responded for a final say with a fifth goal from the final play of the game, when Maria Muller slotted home her shot from a slip right played from a penalty corner.

 
Referring to the two remaining tests against
Ireland on Wednesday and Thursday, King said: “We certainly wouldn’t like a draw against

Ireland
again later in this week, but we certainly haven’t underachieved, and we definitely got the place we were expected to get.
 
“I think we can be happy with it. Quite a lot has come of this tournament, (we have) a few things to work on, and at least we haven’t been sitting at home stagnating.”
 
Once the final two Irish fixtures are complete, the national women’s hockey team continues with a full season after a two-week break at home, first in Kenya’s Africa Cup Olympic qualifier involving Ghana, Nigeria, Namibia, Zimbabwe, South Africa and hosts Kenya, then back home for a week before departing for the four-nations Beijing build-up, completed by a four-test series against Australia, and then Great Britain.

“We do go in as top-ranked team by a number of positions,” King said of the Africa Cup, which has been organised following a failure to feature hockey in the upcoming All Africa Games in

Algeria
, “So anything less than winning that tournament will be achieving way below what we’re capable of.”

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