Fresh from their emphatic 4-0 win over world number six and 2012 Champions Challenge winners Australia on Tuesday, the Investec South African women’s hockey team have another hurdle to negotiate when they take on London 2012 Olympic Games gold medallists and world number one Holland, at 8pm at Hartleyvale Stadium in Cape Town Thursday.
This is the second of the three unofficial Test matches SA are playing this week ahead of the prestigious Investec Challenge, which kicks off on Monday at Hartleyvale. The clash is preceded by the England/Australia match at 6pm.
The South Africans, with forward Jade Mayne – having a great summer – Lisa Deetlefs and Lenise Marais, just three who stood out in a superb team effort against Australia’s Hockeyroos, played one of the best matches seen from them over the past two years, and while it is expecting a lot to reel off another scintillating performance, the mark of the best teams is their ability to churn out high-quality hockey on almost every occasion.
The SA selectors have brought in three players in Celia Evans (North West), Christine Roos (Southern Gauteng) and Tanya Britz (Free State), to make the squad 21-strong for this week’s unofficial Test matches that end on Saturday when SA face England at 8 pm. The SA selectors will then whittle it down to the 18 players that will take part in the Investec Challenge.
Apart from the 1980 Moscow Games, which was boycotted for political reasons, Holland have played in every Olympics since women’s hockey was granted Olympic status and have garnered three gold, one silver and three bronze medals from the sport’s showpiece event.
Holland are coached by Max Caldas (the former Argentina player) while in team captain Maartje Paumen they boast an absolute superstar of the modern game, and it is her drag-flicking prowess at penalty corners that stands out.
Paumen is surrounded by world-class players, who deliver high-octane hockey at its best. To see her and another drag-flick king in South Africa’s world record goalscorer Pietie Coetzee in the same match is a prospect to savour.
The Dutch have been training at the University of Stellenbosch and this weekend their 25-player contingent will be cut to the 18 who will represent the Oranje at the Investec Challenge.
Unofficial Internationals: Tues, 29 Jan 6 pm: South Africa 4-0 Australia Thurs, 31 Jan 6 pm: England vs Australia Thurs, 31 Jan 8 pm: South Africa vs Holland Saturday, 2 Feb 6 pm: Holland vs Australia Saturday, 2 Feb 8 pm: South Africa vs England 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 Investec SA women’s team: 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) Marsha Marescia (capt) (Southern Gauteng) Bernie Coston (Southern Gauteng) Lisa Deetlefs (Southern Gauteng) Lilian du Plessis (Southern Gauteng) Sanani Mangisa (Southern Gauteng) Christine Roos (Southern Gauteng) Sulette Damons (North West) Celia Evans (North West) Marcelle Keet (Amathole/Border) Izelle Lategan (Free State) Tanya Britz (Free State) Kelly Madsen (KZN Coastal Raiders) Lenise Marais (KZN Coastal Raiders) 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