South Africa. . .1
IN A fast and furious but exciting game at Milton Keynes, in which few prisoners were taken, England needed all their experience to withhold a series of late South African onslaughts to win a close contest 2-1.
South Africa's first game outside their own continent since their return to the international fold started well. They opened the scoring in the eighth minute when an aerial ball from Giles Bonnet wrong-footed the English defence and Mike Cullen beat Dave Luckes with a finely angled shot.
England needed just seven minutes to get on equal terms. Don Williams, collecting a through pass from John Shaw, was illegally stopped by the goalkeeper Shane Schonegeval with Jon Potter converting the penalty. Chances then came at both ends with Williams bringing a fine save out of Schonegeval and Cullen going close.
England's winner came in a second half marred by over-zealous umpiring. The visitors were reduced to nine men following temporary suspensions to Bonnet and Wayne Graham, and Amarjit Degun's shrewd pass was rammed home by Shaw.
The South Africans now move to Poznan for the Intercontinental Cup where their return to world competition will be watched with great interest. Their positive approach, speed into the tackle and splendid teamwork will most likely see them finishing in the top six to secure a World Cup place.
ENGLAND: D Luckes (East Grinstead); S Hazlitt (Hounslow), R Hill (Havant), J Halls (Old Loughtonians), A Degun (Barford Tigers), J Shaw (Southgate), J Potter (Hounslow), J Laslett (Teddington), D Williams (Havant), R Garcia (Havant), P McGuire (Teddington). Substitutes used: N Thompson (Old Loughtonians), R Thompson (Hounslow), R Welch (Southgate).
SOUTH AFRICA: S Schonegeval; R Hickman, C Teversham, C Pereira, S Cooke, G Boddington, G Bonnet, M Anderson, R Pullen, W Graham, M Cullen. Substitutes used: G Clark, P Logan, A Holman, K Chree.
Umpires: M Grimsdale (Eng) and D Thysse (SA).
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