South Africa continued their FIH Pro League participation with a 4-2 defeat against England at the Lee Valley Hockey Stadium on Saturday. The South Africans were without a number of key players, but the opportunity presented itself for players to work their way into the Commonwealth Games, FIH Nations Cup or even the FIH Hockey World Cup teams in the next nine months.
For South Africa, their winless streak in the competition extended to 11 matches.
It was England who started the brightest and were rewarded through a penalty corner from which Nick Bandurak scored. The second quarter saw the lead extended with two more penalty corners. Chris Griffiths and Bandurak made it 3-0
England made it 4-0 through Sam Ward, playing his 150th Test. He slid onto a pinpoint ball from Jack Turner to deflect it home.
South Africa finally arrived at the goal scoring party, and they did it twice in a minute. First Matthew Guise-Brown showed why he is one of the most revered penalty corner takers in world hockey with a superb finish. The pace on the ball meant James Mazarelo could do nothing to keep it out.
While Mazarelo would have been not too disappointed with the concession of the Guise-Brown goal, he would have been frustrated by the way he allowed Keenan Horne to score. The SA captain effected a turnover and fired in hard and low straight through the legs of the England shot stopper.
South Africa were unable to add to the score as England saw out the final minutes without too much panic and the final score read 4-2 to the hosts.
The two sides will meet again Sunday at the same venue.
Some good fight at the end of a tough encounter with @EnglandHockey. Look forward to round two tomorrow! pic.twitter.com/YY2qY86t9n
— SA Hockey (@SA_Hockey) May 28, 2022