The South African women’s team annihilated Russia 6-0 in the opening match of the SPAR Tri-Nations at the Randburg Sports Complex on Monday courtesy of a Cindy Brown hat-trick.
The South Africans are fresh off the back of a training camp and a three-match series played against Canada last week – which they won 2-0 – while Russia have not been playing international hockey and the difference between the teams was evident.
However, much to SPAR SA coach Jenny King’s dismay, there were far too many errors from her players despite goals going in at regular intervals.
Western Province’s Farah Frederick opened the scoring as early as the fifth minute when she deflected in a cross from the wing. The team seemed to get some momentum going after going one up early on, but also lost their way at times as they tried to keep focused against inferior opponents.
Russia did manage to get two short corners in the first half, but South Africa dealt with that easily. Cindy Brown then bashed in her first goal with a clean hit in the 28th minute after South Africa was awarded their second short corner. On 33 minutes, Brown scored her second as the Russian defense scrambled to keep out yet another strike from the South African.
The South Africans lost their way a bit in the second half, but Brown combined well with the rest of the midfield to work the ball forward and complete her hat-trick in the 44th minute. One minute later, it was Kathleen Taylor scoring South Africa’s fifth.
As the clock ticked down, the home side’s midfield continued pushing forward and they were awarded a short corner in the 63rd minute from which vice-captain Kate Hector scored the final goal of the match.
The score line didn’t matter much to coach King and she had some harsh words for her troops after the match.
“Our performance, and I’m sure the girls will admit, was only about a four out of ten,” King reckoned, “We lost our pattern and game plan when we made substitutions and the girls have to ask themselves if they are up to international standards after this.
“With these ill-disciplines, we’ll get hammered at the Olympic Games this year.”
SA Captain Marsha Marescia agreed with her coach’s assessment, but said her team’s problem was a mental one.
“Mentally more than physically we have to improve,” said Marescia, “Against teams like Russia we have to learn to keep mentally tough for 70 minutes of hockey and not anything less.”
Russia takes on Canada in the second match of the SPAR Tri-Nations at the Randburg Sports Complex on Tuesday. South Africa plays its next match against Canada on Wednesday at the same venue.
South Africa – Russia 6-0 (3-0)
SA Goal Scorers: Farah Fredericks (5), Cindy Brown (28, 32, 43), Kathleen Taylor (44), Kate Hector (63).
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