Commonwealth Games

South Africa stun Aussies

2010-10-08 15:24
Marsha Marescia (Gallo)

New Delhi - Katie Glynn smashed a hat-trick as New Zealand shocked favourites England 4-1 here Friday to move into the semi-finals from Pool B in the Commonwealth Games women's hockey.

The race for the semi-final spot heated up in Pool A after South Africa held defending champions Australia to a 1-1 draw to be level on seven points with the world number six.

In other matches of the day, India romped to a 7-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago in Pool A while Canada scripted a 2-1 come-from-behind win over Wales in Pool B.

Both India and Canada now need to win their last league matches with huge margins if they are to make it to the last four.

England, the world number five and one of the hot favourites to win the gold, took the lead in the 14th minute when midfielder Ashleigh Ball slotted home a field goal after receiving a pass from Nicola White.

It was New Zealand all the way thereafter with Samantha Harrison equalising in the 25th minute and Glynn slamming in the first of her three goals at the half-time hooter.

The Black Sticks, ranked number seven in the world, dominated their fancied rivals after the change of ends in the match played in blistering heat and humidity at the Major Dhyan Chand stadium.

Glynn, who also scored a goal in New Zealand's 5-1 win over Wales, returned to slot in two more goals inside three minutes to leave her opponents dazed.

"It was a good team performance," said Glynn. "We stuck to our gameplan. We wanted to play aggressively and we are happy that our efforts paid off. We have played England before and they have all been close games.

"Our defence in the second half was solid. It helps when you have a strong defence to back you. I just tried to play my game. I am trying to improve each day. It feels good to be among the goals."

South Africa, ranked 12 to Australia's six, fell behind in the eighth minute when forward Emily Hurtz scored a field goal but they bounced back to equalise through Sulette Damons four minutes from half-time.

Hurtz was unfortunate to pick an injury midway through the first half after falling awkwardly while making a tackle.

The 20-year-old returned after half-time, with her left shoulder heavily strapped but went off again just before the game ended, raising doubts about her availability for the next game against India.

South African captain Marsha Marescia was all praise for the hard work that her team put in.

"It was a very tough game," she said. "Australia were better in the first half, but in the second half we dominated. We did really well in attack. We got more short corners, but some of our decisions were kind of iffy.

"We just need one more point to qualify for the semis. We have a long history with India. It will be more of a mind game than a tactical one."

Australian midfielder Kate Hollywood was dejected with the outcome.

"We fought really hard, so we're disappointed with the 1-1 draw," she said. "We think South Africa is a team we can beat convincingly.

"They pressured our defence hard. Their strikers pushed forward and closed off our options. When we broke through, we didn't get forward like we wanted to."

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