The Investec South Africa women's hockey team broke a five-match drought against Scotland to win the second Test 2-1 at Clydesdale Hockey Club in Glasgow Monday after leading 1-0 at half-time.
SA now lead the five-Test series 1-0 after the first Test was drawn 2-2 on Sunday, and the second Test was a much more convincing performance, as outstanding captain Marsha Marescia had predicted before the match.
SA went into the break 1-0 up after striker Sulette Damons buried a penalty corner rebound off in-form goalkeeper Amy Gibson's pads in the 23rd minute, this after Shelley Russell had initially opened up some space for Damons to win the team’s sixth PC.
The Scots’ best chance to score was on the counter-attack, and three minutes after half-time they equalised through Sam Judge with their first shot of the match, but the winner came from Jen Wilson in the 55th minute when a Damons pass gave the SA forward the time and space to pick her spot.
The South Africans are also undergoing gruelling two-hour training sessions on match day and have two such sessions scheduled on Tuesday’s “rest” day, so they are playing through the fatigue in preparation for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
SA were all over the Scots in the first half and earned six penalty corners to none as well as a series of goalscoring opportunities from field play as they peppered the opposition goalmouth with a series of creative attacks but the Scots defended with determination and Gibson pulled off a number of great saves.
The South Africans were adept at stringing a sequence of passes together and it was the way to go; letting the ball do the work on a blistering hot day in Glasgow. The second half saw Scotland get a bit more of the ball but the determined girls in green and gold played through the fatigue to break two defeats and three draws against the Scots in their previous five meetings.
SA 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.
Scotland: Amy Gibson, Cat Ralph, Leigh Fawcett, Aileen Davies, Susan McGilveray, Becky Merchant, Nikki Kidd, Morag McLennan, Amy Brodie, Ali Howie, Sam Judge, Holly Cram, Ailsa Wyllie, Linda Clement (capt), Nic Skrastin, Nikki Lloyd.
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: Ellen Murray, Kerri Targett (both Scotland).