SA ‘will be better’ against GB
South Africa women’s hockey team head coach Giles Bonnet has promised a better showing in the second unofficial test match against world No 4 Great Britain at Bisham Abbey on Tuesday night (7.30 pm SA time).
World number 12 SA were on the receiving end of a 6-0 defeat in the first match on Monday and Bonnet acknowledged what a difference the return of two players in particular had made to the GB team, a team that was upset 3-1 by the girls in green and gold at the Investec London Cup a month ago.
GB central defender and penalty corner star Crista Cullen netted a hat-trick and striker Alex Danson bagged a brace.
“They made a marked difference and contributed much to GB being more effective than us,” Bonnet said Tuesday morning. “However, we are busy with our process. We will be judged at the Olympic Games, not now, so we stay with the focus, stay with what we are doing and we will be better in the second match, there is no doubt about it.
“Every day we will get better, and every day we will get stronger.”
The Brits, who also welcomed back Cullen’s partner in defence, captain Kate Walsh, created three times as many goal shots from field play than SA, but the tourists shaded the PC count 5-4.
It is hoped that captain Marsha Marescia (ankle) will be back for this game while key players Kate Woods and Shelley Russell, who had been at a family wedding, have had a day to settle in after coming straight to the ground on Monday morning after flying in to London from South Africa just a couple of hours before the first match.
The attacking Kathleen Taylor was not 100% well Monday while fellow forward Jen Wilson was rested.
In Monday’s match the Brits netted three goals inside the first 12 minutes and from then it was a question of trying to play catch-up against a well-organised team.
Tuesday evening, SA will need to find a way to counter the high-tempo hockey, pace and accuracy of the passes, and the quick switching of play from one side of the field to the other by the well-drilled GB team. Strikers getting ball behind the SA defence from their midfielders and hard-hitting defenders in the attacking third of the field is another GB weapon that needs to be nullified.
SA can draw strength from a much-improved second half on Monday and will need more of the same today.