Cape Town - There was disappointment in their performance, as the Investec South Africa women's hockey team drew 1-1 with Spain at the Champions Challenge in Glasgow on Wednesday after the score was 1-1 at halftime.
World number 14 Spain scored first through Maria Gomez in the 25th minute while SA equalised from a Lisa Deetlefs penalty corner in the 31st.
SA had opportunities to win the match and end top of Pool B, including a penalty stroke from captain Marsha Cox that was saved by Spanish keeper Maria Lopez with two minutes left, as well as a stunning second-half stick save low to the stopper’s right from a Deetlefs bullet.
However, too often SA committed unforced errors that resulted in turnover ball and much harder work to regain possession.
SA head coach Giles Bonnet was frank in his assessment of his side’s performance.
“We moved the ball down the middle [too often] when the appointment was to play on the outside, but the point is, we didn’t play well, our passing and receiving was poor, and if the level of your basic skills is not good enough you have a problem, no matter how good your structure and tactical plans are,” said the former SA men’s captain and coach.
Yet it’s what happens in Thursday’s quarterfinal that really matters for the SA team who have now finished second in Pool B behind the team they beat on Monday, the USA.
SA are likely to play Scotland at a time still to be determined by the television broadcasters (the match is on the FIH You Tube live streaming for SA viewers). The Pool A matches take place later Wednesday and that will determine who exactly SA will play and at what time.
“Most teams here are of a similar level, so the big games are tomorrow [Thursday],” said the Amsterdam-based Bonnet. “You can win today [Wednesday] and then lose tomorrow and not make Saturday’s semifinals.”
Scotland will certainly present a tough challenge, as they are a much better side now than they were in Pretoria two months ago.
South Africa (1) 1 (Lisa Deetlefs 31st minute)
Spain (1) 1 (Maria Gomez 25th minute)
Starting: Anelle van Deventer, Lisa Deetlefs, Lenise Marais, Marcelle Manson, Marsha Cox (capt), Shelley Russell, Bernie Coston, Tarryn Bright, Dirkie Chamberlain, Sulette Damons, Celia Evans.
Sanani Mangisa, Quanita Bobbs, Nicolene Terblanche, Illse Davids, Kelly Madsen, Lilian du Plessis, Kathleen Taylor.