10 July 2014
The South Africa women’s hockey team opened their account in the Investec Cup with a 2-0 defeat of Scotland at England’s new national hockey stadium in London on Wednesday. The men’s team slumped to a 2-4 defeat to Ireland.
Striker Kathleen Taylor was in irresistible form for the women’s team, scoring a brace, with her first goal coming in the 15th minute and the second at the 65-minute mark of the second half, which secured the victory.
Goalkeeper Anelle van Deventer was also instrumental in the win, keeping her team in the game and a clean sheet with a number of world-class saves during periods of Scotland dominance.
At the opposite end of the field, Great Britain squad Scottish keeper Amy Gibson was also in superb form and denied the rampant South African strike force both before and after the changeover, including three gilt-edged chances inside three minutes soon after the start of the second half.
South Africa also had a series of penalty corner attempts that might have increased the margin of their victory had the roll of the ball gone their way.
South African captain Marsha Cox led from the front and was all over the park in driving her team onwards, while Jade Mayne, after three months’ out with a serious injury, and returning double Olympian defender Lenise Marais, were also superb, along with Bernie Coston and Tarryn Bright.
Like the women’s team, the South African men’s side played without a full bench, which allowed little recovery time for the substitutes in a 2-4 loss to Ireland. Fabian Gregory’s charges trailed 1-2 at the break.
Ireland, under South African head coach Craig Fulton, beat world number five England in Dublin last Saturday and on Wednesday the men from the emerald isle went 1-0 ahead in the 19th minute when Shane O’Donoghue steered his side’s third penalty corner into the backboard.
South Africa, in typical fashion, came back hard and the in-form Taine Paton equalised in the 25th minute when he made the most of fellow striker Pierre de Voux’s great steal to drill the ball on the bounce past Irish keeper David Harte.
Yet South Africa’s joy was short-lived when Michael Darling restored Ireland’s lead four minutes later with a great finish after displaying excellent close control under pressure.
Austin Smith and company came out strongly after the changeover and created four good opportunities without reward.
Cruelly, the Irish added to their goal-scoring total when Alan Sothern netted in the 41st and 45th minutes – the latter a sublime deflection goal after a cross had been accurately fired in from the right – to give Fulton’s men a comfortable cushion.
South Africa, though, found a response and scored their in the 47th minute when penalty corner injector Lance Louw followed up a rebound off Harte’s leg guards and volleyed the ball into the back of the net.