Belgium win series against SA

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Johannesburg – Belgium edged South Africa 3-2 in the fourth and final women's hockey Test in Cape Town on Saturday to take a 4-0 sweep of the seies.

Louise Versavel slapped home the winner with 15 minutes left in the match after a well-struck cross from the right.

Stephanie de Groof converted both of Belgium’s first-half penalty corners, while South Africa got on the scoresheet through well-taken goals from Jade Mayne's backhand blast and the alert Lilian du Plessis, off a rebound.

Both sides had goals disallowed before Izelle Lategan’s slashing strike from the left side of the strike zone in the second half smashed into the post and stayed out.

Both keepers were kept busy in the end-to-end goalmouth action but the strikers got enough past them to have been reasonably satisfied with their afternoon.

After SA keeper Sanani Mangisa had saved a shot from Jill Boon, De Groof stepped up to power in a rasping flick off Belgium’s first penalty corner that ricocheted off the stopper’s body into the net.

At 1-0 down after 10 minutes, the home side hit back five minutes later when Quanita Bobbs fed an early pass to Mayne who fired in a stunning backhand shot from the edge of the strike zone.

Belgium went ahead again via the stick of De Groof with their second penalty corner after Mangisa had saved twice at point-blank range.

South Africa’s final first-half equaliser came from Du Plessis, following two consecutive penalty corners, before the visitors broke clear in the second period.

The South Africans host the World League round two competition starting in Cape Town on Monday.

They will be boosted by the return of captain Marsha Marescia and world record goalscorer Pietie Coetzee. – Sapa

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