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Bonnet calls on SA players to match star trio’s effort

In handing out praise to three of his players, Investec South Africa women’s hockey team head coach Giles Bonnet said he was expecting much the same from the rest of the group in the second and final Test against Olympic and World League champs The Netherlands in Cape Town on Monday.

ÔÇ£Shelley [Russell], with her pace and strength on the ball, Marsha’s [Cox] energy in midfield and Quanita [Bobbs] in her first game at left half, were most impressive and I would like to see the rest of the players lift themselves to that level in the second Test,ÔÇØ said Bonnet.

Jon Cook reports that SA played patches of good hockey in the 5-0 first Test defeat but a combination of not converting numerous chances and then conceding at least two soft goals hurt them.

Marsha Cox (left) and Lisa Deetlefs watch Phume Mbande palm away a penalty corner drag-flick shot during the first Test against the Netherlands Saturday. The Dutch won 5-0. Picture: Peter Heeger.

The Dutch have in Roos Drost a forward with out-and-out speed and control who raced away down the left channel to set up a goal on the counter so typical of her side after SA were right on the attack, while the overall fitness of the world number one team also made a marked difference. Bonnet said The Netherlands scored two from five penalty corners while SA had a nil from three return, so corner attack and defence was currently a focus.

ÔÇ£The Netherlands won the World League Final last month whereas we met two days ago for the first real training in about six months so there is no comparison,ÔÇØ said Bonnet. ÔÇ£We are not playing the Dutch to get a result but rather to test ourselves in certain areas. We played better with the ball going forward in the first half and in the second our structure in defence was better, so we got something out of the game.

ÔÇ£Of the 18 players we had six in new positions as well as five new players who weren’t with us when we last played, in the Investec Cup last June,ÔÇØ said Bonnet. ÔÇ£We also don’t have our top keeper [the injured Sanani Mangisa] here but it does present Phume Mbande and Hanli Hattingh with a great opportunity.ÔÇØ

The former SA men’s captain and coach said bearing all that in mind it was not a bad start to the 11-Test Hartleyvale Summer Series. ÔÇ£We hope to improve in the second Test and by next Saturday the three-Test series against another world-class side, Australia, will be over and it will be interesting to see then what strides have been made.ÔÇØ

Bonnet said the team is now busy with a process towards the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland and will spend five of the next seven months together.

FIXTURES
(all at Hartleyvale)
January – vs The Netherlands: Monday 20th (7pm)
vs Australia: Wednesday 22nd (7pm); Friday 24th (7pm); Saturday 25th (4pm)
vs Belgium: Sunday 26th (4pm); Tuesday 28th (8pm); Wednesday 29th (7pm); Friday 31st (7pm)
February
vs Belgium: Sunday 2nd (4pm); Monday 3rd (7pm)


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