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Pietie gets goal No273 but SA go down to England
- Updated: June 23, 2013
Our Investec national women’s hockey side went down 4-1 to England in the opening round of Pool B in the Investec World League semi-final tournament in London on Saturday night.
The host national lead 2-1 at the break through field goals from Susie Gilbert in the 21st minute and Sophie Bray (28th), reports Jon Cook. After the halftime interval there was another from Alex Danson (39th) before Giselle Ansley slotted the fourth goal two minutes from the end from the host nation’s fourth penalty corner.
World record goalscorer Pietie Coetzee scored SA’s goal on the half-time whistle (35th minute) from her side’s fifth penalty corner to take her tally to 273 goals in 268 Test matches.
SA head coach Giles Bonnet said it was a lesson learnt in that the team needed to be more efficient but gave credit to England for making the most of their chances as well as for defending very well in the second half.
England head coach Jason Lee said amongst his comments that the score flattered England somewhat.
SA co-captain Marsha Cox (ne├® Marescia) said the match against Spain on┬á Sunday was between two teams with zero points and her side needed to capitalise on the opportunities they created.
SA dominated the penalty corner count 6-4 but outstanding England keeper Maddie Hinch was equal to the challenge provided by Coetzee and company.
SA keeper Sanani Mangisa was also influential but essentially England were able to create more clear-cut opportunities from close-range in the first half. That said, world No11’s SA dominated the first half and had a flurry of penalty corners that Hinch was able to save and clear while fourth-ranked England had the better of things after the changeover, Mangisa also mad a couple of diving stick saves.
Tarryn Bright for SA and Gilbert for England were influential in midfield while in schoolgirl Lily Owsley the English have a top-class forward in the making.
Sunday’s first two matches, in Pool A, were closer affairs than might have been expected with world No7 China beating 17th ranked Italy 2-1 and the world’s second-ranked side┬á Argentina beating No10’s the USA 1-0. World ranking credibility was restored somewhat when sixth-ranked Australia outplayed 15th ranked Spain 5-0 in the other Pool B match.
SA are, in terms of Test appearances, the most experienced team in the Investec World League with 1194 caps between them but England have eight of their 2012 Olympic side here who played in the Olympic bronze medal match, so a core of their top players know all about the big occasion.
SA, too, know about pressure matches, and have nine players from their London 2012 Olympic campaign.
SA meet Spain at 8.3 pm (SA time) Sunday in a match that will be live on SuperSport.ÔÇ¿ÔÇ¿A big incentive for SA is that they are only 23 points behind the USA on the world rankings; a minimal amount in hockey’s ranking system and a better showing than the Americans in the Investec World League is likely to propel the South Africans to a better position.