Words: Jonathan Cook
The Investec South Africa women's hockey team opened their account in the Investec Cup with a 2-0 defeat of Scotland at England's new national hockey stadium in London Wednesday.
SA striker Kathleen Taylor was in irresistible form, scoring a brace, her first goal came in the 15th minute and the second at the 65-minute mark in the second half.
SA goalkeeper Anelle van Deventer was instrumental in the win, keeping her team in the game with a number of world-class saves during periods of dominant Scotland play at stages in both halves.
Great Britain squad Scottish keeper Amy Gibson was also in superb form and denied the rampant SA strikeforce both before and after the changeover, including three gilt-edged chances inside three minutes soon after the re-start following the half-time break.
SA also had a series of penalty corner attempts that might have increased the scoreline had the roll of the ball gone their way.
SA's win was made even more remarkable in that it was achieved with just 14 players while Scotland had the full complement of their 11 starting line-up players plus seven rolling subs.
Several SA players have still to play in London due to unavoidable work and study commitments at home.
SA's world-class striker Sulette Damons is not available for this tournament at all, due to exams, but will be back for the Commonwealth Games later this month.
SA skipper Marsha Cox was all over the park in driving her team onwards while Jade Mayne, after three months' out with serious injury, plus the returning double Olympian defender Lenise Marais, were also superb, along with Bernie Coston and Tarryn Bright.
Lisa Deetlefs, Illse Davids, Shelley Russell, Kelly Madsen, Dirkie Chamberlain, Lilian du Plessis and Nicolene Terblanche all played a positive role at key moments during a highly entertaining match.
The SA men's match versus the fancied Ireland, who took an unofficial Test off world number 5 England last Saturday in Dublin, is at 6.15pm SA time tonight.