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Shelley sees SA home
- Updated: October 15, 2009
Played three, won three — that’s South Africa’s perfect record in the Women’s BDO Champions Challenge hockey tournament being played at Hartleyvale, Cape Town.
Their latest victory came Wednesday when they beat Azerbaijan 3-0 (Shelley Russell scoring twice), after already having qualified for the medal round.
As a result the clash against Azerbaijan was little more than a training exercise after the home side had previously beaten Chile and Japan.
Sapa reports that the home team controlled matters from the start, and it came as no surprise when a defence-splitting pass from Kate Woods set up Russell in the circle. The surprise was the excellent save by goalkeeper Viktoriya Shahbazova, diving to her right.
However, the home crowd did not have long to wait before Farah Fredericks pounced on a loose ball in the circle to fire home a powerful shot. Seven minutes later Marsha Marescia found herself unmarked on the left wing, and Fredericks found herself in position for an easy tap-in.
Totally in control, South Africa then slowed the game down while enjoying the bulk of possession. The Azerbaijanis had their moments but solid defence snuffed out any thoughts of a comeback.
Good tackles by Kim Hubach and goalkeeper Hanli Hattingh, playing in her first match of the tournament, thwarted the visitors before they could get in a shot.
Jennifer Wilson had a chance to score early in the second half, but was off balance and her shot was saved by Shahbazova.
Azerbaijan came back into the match, testing Hattingh as they managed to force a few penalty corners. South Africa continued to play on cruise control, defending in depth.
The home team stirred in the final 10 minutes as Fredericks was denied a hat-trick by Shahbazova, but Russell added the third with six minutes remaining as she deflected in a penalty corner.
Azerbaijan almost grabbed a consolation goal in the dying minutes, but failed to find the telling touch in a frantic goalmouth scramble.
South Africa and Japan qualified for the medal group from Pool A, where they will be joined by New Zealand and Spain. The remaining teams will contest Pool D for the minor placings.