The South African women’s hockey team almost managed to beat England in the first of the two matches in the second Cape Town Summer Series.

It was a case of so close, but yet so far for South Africa loosing 2-4 to England at Hartleyvale. South Africa had control of this one, but the final chukka was 15 minutes too far for the locals.

After the first chukka the score was 0-0. England had a few chances to score near the end of the quarter, but was denied by SA goalkeeper Phumelela Mbande.

In the second quarter the South African players started to create some chances of their own. Striker Dirkie Chamberlain looked especially dangerous close to the goal-box. The crowd went crazy in the 24th minute when local Cape Town player Candice Manual hit the back of the goal-box from a well constructed penalty corner.

At the start of the third quarter England scored somewhat against the flow of play when captain Sarah Haycroft got the visiting team’s first goal of the match. South Africa struck back immediately though when Chamberlain got the ball in the goal-box once again from a penalty corner. England equalised again when Joie Leigh scored the fourth goal in a very entertaining match.

After two minutes of play in the final quarter England – who has been on the attack since the start of the chukka – got a penalty shot and it gave them the lead for the first time in the match. The final quarter belonged to England. With two minutes left England’s Grace Balsdon scored to put the game out of the reach of the home team.

Many of the England players were part of the Great Britain team that won the gold medal at the Rio Olympic Games last year.

The next match in the series of two is tomorrow afternoon at 16:00. This series is another preparation opportunity for the World Cup qualifying Africa Cup of Nations tournament taking place in August as well as the Hockey World League Semi Finals taking place in July.

The SA women’s squad: Nicole la Fleur (WP), Phumelela Mbande (NG), Marelise van Tonder (NG), Kara Stella (KZN C), Jessica O’Connor (KZN C), Kirsty Adams (Boland), Erin Hunter (KZN C), Izelle Verster (NG), Illse Davids (WP), Nicolene Terblanche (NG), Stephanie Baxter (SG), Marizen Marias (SG), Tarryn Glasby (WP), Bernadette Coston (SG), Sulette Damons (NW), Kate Koenig (KZN C), Candice Manuel (WP), Toni Marks (SG), Dirkie Chamberlain (NG). 

The South African men’s side will play its first match on Thursday against England. The match starts at 18:00. All matches played at Hartleyvale.  

Schedule for rest of the second Summer Series: Saturday, 4 March @ 16:00 – England v Germany; Sunday, 5 March @ 16:00 – South Africa v Germany; Monday, 6 March @ 18:00 – South Africa v England; Wednesday, 8 March @ 18:00 England v Germany; Thursday, 9 March @ 18:00 – South Africa v Germany.