Olympic Games – Pool A
South Africa 1 Great Britain 4
Great Britain bounced back from their opening 2-1 defeat against Germany to get their Olympic campaign back on track with a 4-1 victory over South Africa at the Oi Hockey Stadium.
South Africa took the game to Great Britain early on, Quanita Bobbs testing Great Britain goalkeeper, Maddie Hinch in the third minute, following up with a succession of three penalty corners.
After Lilian Du Plessis forced another save from Hinch, South Africa took a sixth minute lead from their third penalty corner. After the injection was bobbled, the ball was slipped to Celia Seerane whose angled pass to the left post was tapped home by an unmarked Nicole Walraven.
Great Britain put pressure on the South African defence in the first quarter, but couldn’t find an equaliser as Lily Owsley’s run was ultimately defended and Izzy Petter shot into the side netting from a narrow angle.
Great Britain maintained the pressure in the second quarter but had to wait until the 29th minute to level things up, Ellie Rayer finishing off a Sarah Jones shot with Phumelela Mbande helpless.
A minute earlier, South Africa had come close to doubling their lead, Hinch making a glove save to stop Onthatile Zulu’s shot on goal.
Great Britain almost had a 2-1 lead at half time, Shona McCallin just failing to touch the ball into the goal at the left post from their first penalty corner.
The third quarter proved decisive as Great Britain scored twice in as many minutes to pull away from South Africa.
Anna Toman forced a save from Mbande in the 33rd minute from their second penalty corner, then as with South Africa, it was third time lucky for Great Britain in the 39th minute as from their third penalty corner, Anna Toman’s drag-flick was deflected off Lily Owsley’s grounded stick, causing the ball to loop in the air and evade the attempts of Marizen Marais on the line to swipe the ball away, the ball going into goal off the right post.
Marais was doubly unfortunate a minute later as her mistimed pass when taking a hit out was intercepted by Laura Unsworth, who slipped the ball between Mbande’s legs to put Great Britain 3-1 ahead.
The only downside in the third quarter for Great Britain was that they lost their video referral asking for penalty stroke, but carried their 3-1 lead into the final quarter.
The victory was sealed in the 50th minute when Sarah Robertson’s sublime aerial pass out of defence fell perfectly for Rayer to run towards goal and launch the ball beyond Mbande and into the left sideboard to complete a much needed 4-1 win.
Both teams exchanged penalty corners in the fourth quarter, Walraven’s shot saved by Hinch and Toman’s shot striking Bobbs painfully on the knee after South Africa had skillfully used their video referral to reverse an earlier penalty corner award.
After a rest day on Tuesday, 27 July, South Africa face the Netherlands at 0130 BST and Great Britain take on India at 0200 BST on Wednesday, 28 July.
Scorer: Nicole Walraven 6-PC
Starters: Phumelela Mbande (GK); Celia Seerane, Nicole Walraven, Edith Molikoe, Kristen Paton, Lisa-Marie Deetlefs, Erin Hunter (Capt.), Lilian Du Plessis, Quanita Bobbs, Tarryn Glasby, Toni Marks.
Subs: Marizen Marais (6 mins), Robyn Johnson (6), Onthatile Zulu (6), Charne Maddocks (6), Lerato Mahole (10).
Cards: Green: Lisa-Marie Deetlefs (39 mins), Erin Hunter (43 mins).
Scorers: Ellie Rayer 29-F, 50-F; Lily Owsley 39-PC, Laura Unsworth 40-F
Starters: Maddie Hinch (GK); Laura Unsworth, Anna Toman, Sarah Jones, Susannah Townsend, Sarah Robertson, Ellie Rayer, Giselle Ansley, Hollie Pearne-Webb (Capt.), Shona McCallin, Lily Owsley.
Subs: Hannah Martin (4 mins), Izzy Petter (4), Fiona Crackles (4), Grace Balsdon (4), Leah Wilkinson (6).
Cards: Green: Shona McCallin (26 mins).
Umpires: Carolina de la Fuente (ARG) and Maggie Giddens (USA).