Thursday, June 30, 2022

South Africa finish Scotland hockey series with a 4-1 win

[img_assist|nid=3906|title=150 caps|desc=SA forward Shelley Russell – Donald Macleod|link=node|align=right|width=0|height=0]World record international hockey goalscorer Pietie Coetzee might not have broken a personal record but the Investec South Africa women’s hockey team were on song as a whole as they beat Scotland 4-1 in the fifth and final test of their series against Scotland in Glasgow Saturday.

The result gave SA a 4-0 series win, with one match drawn. Goals came from captain Marsha Marescia (2), Bernie Coston and Kate Woods while Scotland scored through Sarah Robertson. The match was also momentous because 2011 SA Player of the Year Tarryn Bright celebrated her 200th Test match while Shelley Russell reached the 150-test milestone, and both did the occasion proud with excellent performances.

The first test was drawn 2-2 before SA won the second, third, fourth and fifth tests 2-1, 4-2, 5-2 and 4-1 respectively.

World number 12 SA led 2-1 at half-time with the opening goal coming in the 15th minute when Marescia intercepted a pass 30-metres out, accelerated into the strike zone and slipped the ball past Amy Gibson. World number 18 Scotland went further behind when midfielder Bright made ground in confined space to set up Coston.

Scotland pulled one back when Nikki Kidd went on a stunning left-right diagonal run before Robertson finished off. Turning around 2-1 up, Marescia and company kept working hard and created numerous opportunities, as did the feisty Scots, but the second-half deadlock was finally broken five minutes from the end when a slip-left penalty corner pass after a great Coetzee dummy at the top of the strike zone freed up Woods to fire a powerful shot past Gibson. Marescia made it 4-1 a minute from the end after the ball deflected off Scotland defender Kaz Marshall’s stick.

Striker Coetzee smashed four stunning goals in Friday’s fourth Test to take her world record tally to a scarcely believable 238 goals in 240 Test matches. Coetzee (33) said before the game that she had never scored more goals than Test matches played in her 17-year international career, “but as long as we score goals and win I don’t care who scores.”

The girls in green and gold head south on Monday for the Investec London Cup, where the talismanic Coetzee will get another chance to break her personal record.


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