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Damons does it for SA

By Mark Etheridge

Our women’s hockey side put the disappointment of their opening day World Cup defeat firmly behind them on Tuesday night when they beat Spain 2-1 in Rosario, Argentina.

It was the shock of the tournament thus far with the 12th ranked South Africans accounting for a team ranked eighth in the world. This after a 2-5 opening defeat against the host side Argentina.

The win against Spain was the South African’s first World Cup win in eight years, there last win having come in Perth, Australia where they beat lowly Ukraine 3-1 in a consolation play-off.

Veteran Pietie Coetzee, our star striker who recently returned to the game after a lengthy break, opened the scoring from a penalty corner and although the Spaniards equalised just before halftime through Nuria Camon, a super goal from Sulette Damons gave victory to South Africa.

Some sources described the goal as the best of the tournament after Damons (she plays for North West province) took the ball over her right shoulder before sending it high past an advancing Spanish ‘keeper, Maria Lopez de Eguilaz.

Coetzee and Camon also both scored in the same match, just as they did at the 2002 World Cup, won 3-1 by Spain.

Defeat leaves Spain in real danger of missing the semi-finals after having gone down 2-3 to England in their opening match.

South Africa’s next match is against China on Thursday. China, one of the powerhouses of women’s hockey, went down 1-0 to England on Tuesday so the South Africans can expect a backlash.

Still, there should be few surprises for SA after new coach Giles Bonnet took his squad on a gruelling tour to China shortly after he took up the coaching duties earlier this year.

Bonnet told media after the epic win: “I’m confident we will be winning again here and not in another eight to 10 years.”

In the other match of the day, Argentina notched their second win of the tournament, beating Korea 1-0.


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