Hockey: Scotland usurped by Springboks

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The Independent Online
New Zealand and South Africa will meet in today's final of the women's World Cup qualifying tournament here following yesterday's semi-finals in which the Kiwis beat India with a golden goal after 11 minutes of extra- time, and Scotland went down to the Springboks.

Scotland carried their impressive form into the semi- final, although they were forced on to the defensive throughout the first half after South Africa had taken the lead from their first penalty corner eight minutes into the game. Clearly expecting a drag shot from the Springbok striker Pietie Coetzee, they were unprepared for the slip and failed to pick up Kerry Bee at the near post. Bee had a simple prod into the net.

As South Africa drove forward, only a string of outstanding saves from the goalkeeper, Sue Lawrie, including one from Coetzee at their next corner, prevented them going further ahead.

Scotland bounced back into the game after the interval with the captain, Pauline Robertson, driving forward to win a series of penalty corners. But it was not until two minutes before the end that Sue Fraser eventually pierced the Springbok defence.

In between, the South Africans had extended their lead in the 48th minute with an unstoppable penalty stroke after Alison Dare's shot had been illegally stopped by Alison Grant on its route to goal.

The game ended with the South Africans frantically scrambling the ball away from Robertson's last desperate effort.

Scotland play India for the bronze medal today while England and China contest the fifth and sixth place.

The South Africa coach, Boudewijn Castelijn, said: "To reach our first major tournament final is a great achievement, though we could not have done it a month ago."

The Scotland coach, Mike Gilbert, praised their fightback. "We are learning the hard way," he said.

WOMEN'S WORLD CUP QUALIFYING TOURNAMENT (Harare) 11/12th place: Canada 5 Zimbabwe 0; 9/10th place: Spain 4 Japan 0; Semi-finals: Scotland 1 South Africa 2, New Zealand 2 India 1 (aet).