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Hockey sides in double defeat to England in London

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Both our hockey sides suffered losses to host nation England at the Investec Cup in London on Thursday.

Captain Marsha Cox’s side went down 2-1 at the national hockey stadium after trailing 1-0 at halftime while the men suffered a demoralising 7-0 defeat after going into the break five goals in arrears.

Jon Cook reports that the Investec national women’s side will kick themselves for not converting the numerous chances they created in this warm-up event to the Commonwealth Games in Scotland later this month.

England scored a minute before half-time (34th) via a brilliant solo goal by world-class forward Alex Danson, SA replied in the 47th with a superb backhand strike from the top of the strike zone by Illse Davids (see picture) before Georgie Twigg nailed the winner for England from the penalty spot nine minutes from the end (61st).

World No 6 England, with the win over SA and an 8-0 drubbing of Wales during the first round on Wednesday, are through to Sunday’s 6.15pm (SA time) final ÔÇô┬áand SA, who meet minnows Wales in the final round-robin match on Saturday, should beat their opponents in the title match, this after SA had beaten Scotland 2-0 on day one Wednesday.

SA will again be looking to be looking for big performances against Wales from double Olympian Shelley Russell of Western Province and captain Marsha Cox of Southern Gauteng.

Meanwhile in the later match, a dominant England midfield performance in the first half laid the platform for the tournament favourites’ comprehensive 7-0 win.

The world’s fifth-ranked side were able to advance through the middle with ease at times in the first half and the result was a series of well-constructed goals to Nick Catlin (two) in his 100th Test, another by captain Barry Middleton, and a brace by the supremely talented Ashley Jackson from field and set-piece play.

SA, who had their moments upfront either side of half-time but were unable to convert those opportunities into goals, enjoyed a better second half ÔÇô much tighter in the middle of the park ÔÇô which led to more possession and positive moments going forward, but it was the English who had the last say with further goals from Simon Mantell and Mark Gleghorne.

Next up, SA face Scotland at 10.45am Saturday.

Picture: ADY KERRY