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Pietie edges closer

The Investec South Africa women’s hockey team continued their dominance over the world’s fourth ranked side when they beat China 2-1 in the sixth Test match at Kaspersky Randburg Astro Hockey Stadium on Sunday.

The win earned 12th ranked SA a 5-1 series victory in the Johannesburg section of the Investec International Series.

The series travels to the University of Free State hockey centre in Bloemfontein on Tuesday for eight consecutive days of Test matches.

Illse Davids won an early penalty corner and Pietie Coetzee found the net past keeper Li Ji for her 209th goal in 214th Tests.

She is now just 12 goals short of Russian Natella Krasnikova’s world all-time record of 220 and her every touch earned a round of applause from the enthusiastic crowd.

Midway through the first half, in-form Investec SA midfielder Davids scored a breathtaking goal from a practised penalty corner move.

China were not out of it, though, and Huang Xuejiao scored from a penalty corner that evaded excellent SA stopper Sanani Mangisa, who has been one of the three keepers who head coach Giles Bonnet has used so successfully during the series, which is a tribute to Dutch goalkeeping coaches Joppe de Vries and Martijn Drijver as well as SA’s Sheldon Rostron.

South Africa’s short-passing game was good and South Africa have come a long way in a short time under Bonnet’s leadership.

SA captain and World All Stars midfielder Marsha Marescia was the Investec Player of the Match after yet another polished performance.

In the earlier Investec International Series match, world number 14 Azerbaijan overwhelmed world 17 Belgium with a 6-0 victory.


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