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Plenty of praise for SA’s captain Cox

Fabian Gregory, assistant coach of the Investec South African women’s hockey team, was full of praise for his captain, Marsha Cox as the squad prepared for Friday night’s second Test against world No4 side Australia at Hartleyvale in Cape Town.

“It’s difficult to comprehend how Marsha manages to turn in high-quality performances Test after Test against the best teams in the world,ÔÇØ said Gregory of the 316-Test match veteran, pictured right.

SA lost a Test series 2-0 against Olympic and World league champions The Netherlands before drawing 3-3 with Australia’s Hockeyroos on Wednesday and Cox, who celebrated her first wedding anniversary last Saturday, has been here, there and everywhere, urging her team-mates on through sheer force of will and no little skill.

ÔÇ£In my book, Marsha is a bit of a freak with regards to her ability to deliver those performances, not only in her leadership role but also for herself, saying ‘I am the go-to person, when we are under pressure, pass to me’.ÔÇØ

The coach said it was also what the twice World All Stars selection did when not in the spotlight. ÔÇ£She’s phenomenal, the energy levels Marsha brings when we don’t have possession, winning the ball back in midfield, being there to cover, her support play, coming back in defence, I think it’s something Marsha is trying to drive the team towards, especially the new players in the group, as if to say, ‘hey, you still have to work exceptionally hard when we don’t have the ball, as well as when we’re going forward’.ÔÇØ

Gregory is upbeat about world number 11 SA’s chances of upsetting the world four Hockeyroos Friday. ÔÇ£If the girls play for the full 70 minutes again, score the goals like on Wednesday and minimise turnovers and penalty corners against, there is a lot to be excited about.ÔÇØ

Meanwhile, Australian head coach Adam Commens said that in the first half his team were not good. ÔÇ£We were sloppy at the back and didn’t execute our game plan properly but I thought the second half was much better, although we let in two soft goals ÔÇô a penalty corner and a field goal that was particularly soft. It was a great opportunity to play some of our younger players and to play players in positions they’re not accustomed to.ÔÇØ

Commens added that the matches against SA will be ÔÇ£particularly toughÔÇØ.

The third international takes place on Saturday at 4pm at Hartleyvale Hockey Stadium before a six-Test series starts for the South Africans against Belgium on Sunday.

REMAINING FIXTURES
(all at Hartleyvale)
January: vs Australia:  Friday (7pm); Saturday (4pm)
vs Belgium: Sunday (4pm); Tuesday 28th (8pm); Wednesday 29th (7pm); Friday 31st (7pm)
February: vs Belgium: Sunday 2nd (4 pm); Monday 3rd (7pm)


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