11 July 2014
The South African women’s and men’s hockey teams both suffered losses to England in the Investec Cup in London on Thursday, with the women going down 1-2 and the men being overwhelmed by a 7-0 margin.
The South African women, who surprised the English with a convincing 4-1 victory in the recent World Cup, created numerous scoring opportunities, but were made to pay for not making the most of them.
Commonwealth Games preparation
“We have had very little time to prepare, and are using this tournament as preparation for the Commonwealth Games,” South African captain Marsha Cox said after the game.
“We’re pretty pleased with the way certain things happened in the game. We felt that in the first half we had great moments of control and many opportunities to score, so while we are happy with that, we are disappointed that we didn’t put our chances away.”
England scored a minute before half-time with a brilliant solo goal by world-class forward Alex Danson, but South Africa replied in the 47th minute with a superb backhand strike from the top of the strike zone by Ilse Davids.
Nine minutes from the end of the contest, Georgie Twigg nailed the winner for England from the penalty spot.
With the win over South Africa and an 8-0 drubbing of Wales in their first round match on Wednesday, England are through to Sunday’s final.
Final rematch likely
A return clash with South Africa looks likely, with Cox and her team set to meet minnows Wales in their final round-robin match on Saturday. South Africa beat Scotland 2-0 in their first match on Wednesday.
“If you look at our performance yesterday, compared to today, I think that we definitely took one step forward in the right direction and we’re looking forward to playing Wales,” Cox said.
In the clash between the two men’s teams, England, the Investec Cup favourites, used a dominant first half performance to lay the platform for their victory after they raced into a 5-0 half-time lead.
Nick Catlin, playing in his 100th test, struck twice in the first half, Ashley Jackson also slotted a brace, and captain Barry Middleton added another in the opening stanza.
Better second half
SA, who had their moments up front on either side of half-time without converting any those opportunities into goals, enjoyed a better second half after tightening up matters in the middle of the park, which led to more possession and positive moments going forward.
It was, however, the English who had the last say with further goals from Simon Mantell and Mark Gleghorne.