Shelley Russell skins the Scotland defence with team-mate Lesle-Ann George in support during the 2-2 draw in the first Test in Glasgow Sunday. Photo: Donald Macleod

The Investec South Africa women’s hockey team came within a minute of overturning four matches without beating Scotland but the Scots scored with the last play of the game to draw the first of the five-Test series 2-2 at a very hot Clydesdale Hockey Club in Glasgow Sunday.

Scotland were awarded a penalty corner after SA were adjudged to have deliberately infringed in the 23-metre area and another PC followed, which saw Nikki Lloyd scramble in the equaliser.

In the eighth minute, world number 18 Scotland hit the post through Nikki Kidd from their first penalty corner but world number 12-ranked SA hit back when Dirkie Chamberlain made no mistake from the rebound off goalkeeper Amy Gibson’s pads after the strong initial shot from Jen Wilson.

Six minutes from half-time SA felt aggrieved when a great run by Bernie Coston along the left-hand baseline didn’t result in a penalty stroke.

Turning around 1-0 up, SA suffered a setback when a neat move three minutes after the changeover between Becky Merchant, Nic Skrastin and inspirational captain Linda Clement saw Ali Bell slip the ball past goalkeeper Mariette Rix, on for first-half keeper Sanani Mangisa (1-1).

Turnovers began multiplying as the players felt the excessive heat and in the 43rd minute SA striker Sulette Damons dropped to the turf in agony and had to be helped off the field with what appeared to be an ankle injury.

SA captain Marsha Marescia, who was outstanding throughout, rallied her troops and SA earned a second and then a third PC but the Scotland defence was equal to the challenge. Then Shelley Russell, who had been a constant threat down the left flank, dropped like a stone after being struck on the shoulder from a full-blooded Scotland cross.

South Africa’s fourth PC was blocked in a match where Scotland keeper Gibson had a very good game before Damons returned to the fray and in an incisive run down the left side of the field she exhibited great control to set up Kath Taylor for a simple tap-in 10 minutes from time (2-1).

But victory was not to be as the spirited Scots drove upfield in search of the equaliser, which came through Lloyd in the dying seconds.

SA were missing world record goalscorer Pietie Coetzee and fellow double Olympian Kate Woods, who are scheduled to join the team later in the week, as well as striker Lauren Penny (shoulder injury) while Scotland are missing their four Great Britain Olympic squad members.

QuipuTV are providing “live” free-to-air online streaming of the five Test matches and it is globally available through the Scottish Hockey and QuipuTV websites, as well as and Twitter at #SASCOhockey which provides SA fans with ample choice to follow the second Test at 3.30 pm SA time Monday and the rest of the series.


South Africa:
Sanani Mangisa
Mariette Rix
Illse Davids
Marsha Marescia (capt)
Shelley Russell
Dirkie Chamberlain
Lisa Deetlefs
Jen Wilson
Lesle-Ann George
Nicolene Terblanche
Lenise Marais
Kathleen Taylor
Bernie Coston
Tarryn Bright
Sulette Damons


Amy Gibson
Kat Ralph
Kaz Marshall
Leigh Fawcett
Kat Camerson
Aileen Davies
Susan McGilveray
Becky Merchant
Nikki Kidd
Morag McLennan
Ali Howie
Sam Judge
Holly Cram
Ailsa Wylie
Linda Clement (capt)
Nic Skrastin
Nikki Lloyd
Ali Bell


Karen Thomson (Scotland)
Kerri Targett (Scotland)