Saturday 9 February
15:00 local time – 13:00 GMT – SF 1: Hockeyroos vs. South Africa
17:00 local time – 15:00 GMT – SF 2: Netherlands vs. England
The Hockeyroos will play the Investec Challenge hosts, South Africa in semi final 1 on Saturday after defeating England 3-1 and claiming second spot on the points table, while England will face Olympics Gold Medalists Netherlands. Netherlands won against England (4-1) and South Africa (3-1), while played a draw against Hockeyroos (2-2) to finish on the top of the table.
A one goal advantage at half time doubled shortly after through Captain Jodie Schulz who converted a breathtaking penalty corner. Under 21 Victorian Georgia Nanscawen added to England’s misery with a skillful run and finish in the 58th minute. England secured a consolation goal through Nicola White in the 66th minute.
Adam Commens’ team hasn’t had a positive recent history against the up-and-coming world number 11 (South Africa), losing 4-0 in a practice match and drawing 1-1 during the tournament.
Speaking after the game England team leader Karen Brown reflected on the performance, “I have been really pleased with the effort the girls have shown out here and I think, given the relative inexperience, we have done well to compete for significant periods today. That said however, we do not have a full 70 minutes of consistency yet and that is vital if we are to compete against a side like Australia.”
Commens, the head coach of Hockeyroos, says his players will need to be at their best on Saturday to get a win. “We’re going to have to play strong and skillful team hockey to give ourselves a chance of playing in the final,” Commens said.
Key defenders and drag flick specialists’ Anna Flanagan and Jodie Schulz have fired all tournament and will be key players if the Hockeyroos are to taste success in the semi final.
“Both players are in excellent form, especially Jodie who has been in our best players in every match of this tour,” Commens said.
Experienced defender Teneal Attard and elite midfielder Casey Eastham were outstanding in tonight’s victory.
“Our experienced campaigners have led the way this tournament and I’ll be asking them to carry their form into the finals to give us an opportunity to hold up the Investec Challenge Cup,” Commens said.
Despite losing all three of their pool matches at the Investec Challenge, England team leader Karen Brown has been really pleased with the team’s performance, “We knew coming into this tournament that the other teams were fielding more experienced sides and that this would be a big step up for the majority of the squad. However, I think that the skill and technique of these younger players has matched the other teams, it has just been the physical conditioning that has let us down and I am not worried about that as I know it will come with more time. We are looking forward to playing two more games at the weekend and continuing to build on what we have achieved so far.”
INVESTEC CHALLENGE FIXTURES & RESULTS
Wednesday 6 February – Rest Day
Thursday 7 February
18:00 local time – 16:00 GMT – Australia v England 3-1
20:00 local time – 18:00 GMT – South Africa v Netherlands: 1-3
Friday 8 February – Rest Day
Saturday 9 February
15:00 local time – 13:00 GMT – Semi Final 1: 1st v 4th: Hockeyroos vs. South Africa
17:00 local time – 15:00 GMT – Semi Final 2: 2nd v 3rd: Netherlands vs. England
Sunday 10 February
12:00 local time – 10:00 GMT – Bronze medal match
14:00 local time – 12:00 GMT – Gold medal match
Inputs from Hockey Australia and Hockey England Press Releases