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Dutch demolish SA

Things started well but ended in a walloping for the Investec South African women’s hockey side in Amsterdam on Tuesday.

Preparing for the Champions Challenge tournament which starts in Dublin, Ireland this weekend, South Africa went down 8-2 to reigning Olympic Games champions, the Netherlands.

South Africa scored just 16 seconds into the match when Jen Wilson beat the Dutch keeper after a pass from Tarryn Bright, but it only served to galvanise the Dutch into action and they put five top-class goals into the net before half-time

Jonathan Cook reports from Amsterdam though that there was some cheer for the world’s 12th-ranked team when superstar forward Pietie Coetzee netted her 216th goal in 220 Test matches, leaving the South African just five strikes short of breaking Russian Natella Krasnikova’s two decades-old world record.

The second half was a testimony to the South Africans’ fighting spirit with the Neterlands shading the girls in green and gold 3-1 as SA head coach Giles Bonnet tightened up his side’s playing pattern.

The Netherlands, now the world’s number two hockey nation after their defeat by Argentina in the 2010 World Cup final, gave a display of precision and control as they dictated the course of the match and it left South Africa with much to think about ahead of the second and final Test on Wednesday night.

The Investec South Africa team are using these warm-up matches as preparation for the Champions Challenge tournament involving the teams ranked ninth to 16th in the world.

After they had opened the scoring, South Africa found themselves under enormous pressure in the defensive third of the field and Boksburg-born former South African Marilyn Agliotti equalised with a reverse-stick shot from the top of the circle. The equalizer came just after SA goalkeeper Mariette Rix had made a fine glove-save.

Kim Lammers put the Netherlands into the lead on the quarter-hour mark as the remarkable control of the Dutch threatened to overwhelm the gutsy South Africans. On the half-hour Eva de Goede gave the Netherlands a two-goal cushion. SA earned a penalty corner but Coetzee’s well-struck shot went wide of the post and two more Dutch goals followed via the sticks of Lammers and captain Maartjie Pauman, whose penalty corner rather fortuitously deflected off a South African stick.

Despite Agliotti’s second goal and Claire Verhage’s brace, South Africa had far more of the second half. Fleet-footed SA striker Sulette Damons got in two shots at goal from good positions before Coetzee made her mark with number 216.


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