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Talented Taylor returns to tackle international series
- Updated: January 18, 2014
A double Olympian returns and head coach Giles Bonnet has charted a clear direction as the Investec South Africa women’s hockey team embark on their Hartleyvale Summer Series of 11 Test matches against world-class opposition in Cape Town over the next fortnight.
Maties Master of Laws (LLM) graduate Kathleen Taylor, the multi-talented Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympian who has also featured as a concert pianist, is a top-quality forward from Western Province who had 192 Test matches behind her going into the opening match against the world’s top team, The Netherlands, at Hartleyvale┬á on Saturday after a 17-month sabbatical from the game due to work commitments.
Taylor, pictured right, could well reach the 200-Test milestone on her home turf but is taking it one game at a time. ÔÇ£I am a bit nervous but looking forward to it,ÔÇØ said the article clerk with top law firm Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs Inc.
ÔÇ£I have a very understanding principal who says the extension of my articles will be granted as there is a compelling reason in my case.ÔÇØ
There can surely be few more compelling reasons than representing your country.
ÔÇ£Kathleen is a gifted player who is in good shape after undergoing personal training with our conditioning coach, Johnno Meintjes,ÔÇØ said Bonnet. ┬áÔÇ£We want to see something special from her and I believe she is ready for the challenge.ÔÇØ
Bonnet said the SA team’s approach, which focuses on putting pressure on the opposition, carries the risk of being caught on the counter-attack, an area in which he hopes to see improvement. ÔÇ£I am not expecting a result against the Dutch but I want to see us having the ability to hurt them during patches of play and limit the chances of being exposed when on attack.ÔÇØ
The former SA men’s captain and coach’s policy of exposing the next generation of players to top international is bearing fruit. ÔÇ£I am optimistic that we can leave a legacy following the Commonwealth Games in July, after which a number of our senior players will retire.ÔÇØ
Bonnet is clear in what the group hopes to achieve over the next seven months. ÔÇ£Our goals are simple, straightforward, uncomplicated.ÔÇØ
While the 2014 World Cup in The Hague, Netherlands at the beginning of June is important, there is no doubt that South Africa’s first ever medal at the Commonwealth Games come July in Glasgow is a very real possibility.
And there can be no better opponents to kick-start the 2014 process than Dutch captain and drag-flick ace Maartje Paumen, goalkeeper Joyce Sombroek plus the likes of Carlien Dirkse van den Heuvel, Lidewij Welten and Naomi van As, Ellen Hoog, Kim Lammers and Kitty van Male.
Picture: Donald MacLeod
(selected to play Netherlands and Australia)
Marcelle ┬áKeet, Quanita Bobbs, Kelly Madsen, Sulette Damons, Bernie Coston, Marsha Cox, Pietie Coetzee, Shelley Russell, Tarryn Bright, Lilian du Plessis, Kathleen Taylor, Phume Mbande, Hanli Hattingh, Illse Davids, Celia Evans, Lisa Deetlefs, Dirkie Chamberlain, Erin Hunter, Sammy Prost and Anelle van Deventer.
FIXTURES (all at Hartleyvale)ÔÇ¿
vs The Netherlands: Saturday 18th (4pm); Monday 20th (7pm)
vs Australia: ┬áWednesday 22nd (7pm); Friday 24th (7pm); Saturday 25th (4pm)
vs Belgium: Sunday 26th (4pm); Tuesday 28th (8pm); Wednesday 29th (7pm); Friday 31st (7pm)
vs Belgium: Sunday 2nd (4pm); Monday 3rd (7pm)