SA, Scotland draw first Test
Dirkie Chamberlain (Photo: Donald Macleod)
Glasgow - The South Africa women's hockey team came within a minute of overturning four matches without beating Scotland but the Scots scored with the last play of the game to draw the first Test of the five-match series 2-2 at a very hot Clydesdale Hockey Club on Sunday.
Nikki Lloyd scrambled in the equaliser for Scotland from a penalty corner.
In the eighth minute, world No 18 Scotland hit the post through Nikki Kidd from their first penalty corner but world No 12 SA hit back when Dirkie Chamberlain made no mistake from the rebound off goalkeeper Amy Gibson's pads after the strong initial shot from Jen Wilson.
Six minutes from half-time SA felt aggrieved when a great run by Bernie Coston along the left-hand baseline didn’t result in a penalty stroke.
Turning around 1-0 up, SA suffered a setback when a neat move three minutes after the changeover between Becky Merchant, Nic Skrastin and inspirational captain Linda Clement saw Ali Bell slip the ball past goalkeeper Mariette Rix, on for first-half 'keeper Sanani Mangisa (1-1).
Turnovers began multiplying as the players felt the excessive heat and in the 43rd minute SA striker Sulette Damons dropped to the turf in agony and had to be helped off the field with what appeared to be an ankle injury.
SA captain Marsha Marescia
, who was outstanding throughout, rallied her troops and SA earned a second and then a third penalty corner but Scotland's defence was equal to the challenge. Then Shelley Russell, who had been a constant threat down the left flank, dropped like a stone after being struck on the shoulder from a full-blooded Scotland cross.
South Africa’s fourth penalty corner was blocked in a match where Scotland 'keeper Gibson had a very good game before Damons returned to the fray and in an incisive run down the left side of the field she exhibited great control to set up Kath Taylor for a simple tap-in 10 minutes from time (2-1).
But victory was not to be as the spirited Scots drove upfield in search of the equaliser, which came through Lloyd in the dying seconds.
The South Africans were missing world record goalscorer Pietie Coetzee
and fellow double Olympian Kate Woods
, who are scheduled to join the team later in the week, as well as striker Lauren Penny (shoulder injury) while Scotland are missing their four Great Britain Olympic squad members.
Amy Gibson, Kat Ralph, Kaz Marshall, Leigh Fawcett, Kat Camerson, Aileen Davies, Susan McGilveray, Becky Merchant, Nikki Kidd, Morag McLennan, Ali Howie, Sam Judge, Holly Cram, Ailsa Wylie, Linda Clement (capt), Nic Skrastin, Nikki Lloyd, Ali Bell.South Africa:
Sanani Mangisa/Mariette Rix, Illse Davids, Marsha Marescia
(capt), Shelley Russell, Dirkie Chamberlain, Lisa Deetlefs, Jen Wilson, Lesle-Ann George, Nicolene Terblanche, Lenise Marais, Kathleen Taylor, Bernie Coston, Tarryn Bright, Sulette Damons.
Umpires: Karen Thomson, Kerri Targett (both Scotland).