Holland beat brave SA hockey girls 2-0
In a match of many opportunities, the world’s No 1-ranked Holland, the reigning Olympic champions, beat the competitive Investec South Africa women’s hockey team 2-0 after leading 1-0 at halftime at Hartleyvale Stadium on Thursday night.
In the early match world No 6 Australia came back from a goal down to beat world No 4 England 3-1.
Both unofficial international matches were played in preparation for the prestigious Investec Challenge, which kicks off at Hartleyvale on Monday.
SA, the world’s 11th-ranked team, started well when the Western Province trio of Tarryn Bright, Jade Mayne and Shelley Russell put together a neat move as early as the second minute but the final blow went wide of the post.
The South Africans then won two penalty corners in succession with the latter effort seeing the ball struck powerfully but on the wrong side of the post.
At the other end outstanding SA goalkeeper Sanani Mangisa cleared with confidence before being forced into making two brilliant interventions. The Dutch began transferring the ball with assurance and Ellen Hoog made no mistake inside the six-yard box to open the scoring.
The big question was whether SA would be able to reproduce another upset after they had got the better of Australia to the tune of 4-0 on Monday.
Four minutes after the changeover, Russell’s pace and control down the right set up a gilt-edged chance that was not converted and SA were undone midway through the second stanza by an own goal.
The Olympic champions were value for their win.
In the opening match Nicola White of England got on the scoresheet inside the first four minutes when she buried a penalty corner rebound in emphatic fashion. Australia equalised through Kellie White after she received the ball in space.
In the second half, Australia’s White made it 2-1 to the 2012 Champions Challenge winners and Fiona Boyce’s goal ensured a two-goal cushion that stayed firm to the final whistle.
Saturday’s final round of internationals before the Investec Challenge will see SA tackling England at 4 pm on Saturday and Holland taking on Australia at 6 pm, both at Hartleyvale, the venue of the Investec Challenge next week.