With day one of the Investec London Cup bringing wins for South Africa and England, day two was set up nicely as the sides met, with Wales and Scotland battling it out to pick up their first points of the competition. Reports on both games are below:
Scotland 5-0 Wales.
Scotland bounced back from the disappointment of their defeat yesterday to put Wales to the sword with a 5-0 win here at the Lee Valley Hockey Arena. Gordon Shephard’s side scored four times in the second half, including three in the last ten minutes as their superior fitness paid dividends against a tired Welsh outfit.
In a scrappy first half it was Wales who had the best chance of the opening exchanges. Sarah Robertson broke clear and rounded Amy Gibson but was unable to get a connection on the ball and the chance went begging.
With the game developing into a battle for midfield supremacy chances were scarce but in the 21st minute Scotland went ahead. Ali Bell broke into the D and although Ria Male got a stick to the ball to halt her, the rebound fell kindly to Catriona Ralph who smashed home.
Wales forced a penalty corner late on in the half but Aileen Davis was on hand to clear off the line and preserve the lead. The second half continued in a similar pattern with Wales defending well to keep Scotland at bay. Leah Wilkinson and Elie Barnes in particular stood out with some brave and skilful tackling under extreme pressure.
With 49 minutes on the clock the lead was doubled. A long corner from the left was played in and Nikki Lloyd pounced to apply the finish. Male did well to save low from Nikki Kidd’s penalty corner and then Linda Clement squandered a gilt-edged opportunity after being set up by Bell. Male continued her sterling efforts in the Welsh goal with another fine save to deny Ralph but as the Welsh tired Scotland took full advantage and punished them with three goals in the final four minutes. Vikki Bunce took advantage of some space in the D to stab home the third and then she notched her second from a penalty stroke after Kidd’s corner was kept out by a foot on the line. With seconds remaining, Scotland nabbed a fifth. An excellent driving run by Bell engineered the room for a shot at goal that was touched in by Ailsa Wyllie at the far post, making sure.
Scotland now go into their final group game needing a win against England and a favour from Wales to advance to the final.
England 2-1 South Africa.
A strike from Alex Danson and a penalty stroke from Georgie Twigg nine minutes from time gave England their second win from two in a hard-fought encounter with South Africa in the rain here in London.
Danson struck a minute before half time but her effort was cancelled out by Ilse Davids’ effort twelve minutes after the break. Twigg kept her cool with time running out to send Anelle Van Deventer the wrong way and seal the win.
South Africa dominated the early going but were unable to find a breakthrough. Celia Evans broke through but was steered away from goal by Kirsty Mackay rushing from her line and then the England goalkeeper responded well to keep out a shot from Kathleen Taylor.
The game became a scrap with both sides turning the ball over with increasing regularity as the half wore on. Then with a minute to go until the break a moment of genuine class came from Danson. She skipped past her marker, cut back away from the baseline on the right before firing a searing reverse stick shot into the net across the goalkeeper.
Van Deventer made a splendid save in the 41st minute, getting down well to block Sophie Bray’s deflection after good approach work from Lucy Wood. The South African keeper then denied Lily Owsley with another good save.
Six minutes later Kurt Cerfontein’s team levelled the scores. Davids found the far corner from just inside the D with a splendid strike that gave Mackay no chance.
Sam Quek squandered a wonderful chance to re-establish the lead as she shot wide with the goal at her mercy after Danson had somehow manufactured a pass from the baseline and then Bray hit the outside of the post with a reverse stick effort as England rallied. With nine minutes to go they got their lead thanks to a penalty stroke from Twigg and despite two late penalty corners for South Africa England were able to hold on for the win.
Tomorrow is a rest day, meaning England’s next game is against Scotland on Saturday, whilst South Africa take on Wales.