Hockey: Winning end for England

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ENGLAND ended their three- week tour of South Africa on a winning note against the host nation in Johannesburg. The tourists had already lost the three-match Test series, but reduced the margin of defeat to 2-1, writes Bill Colwill.

Following their 2-0 win against Zimbabwe on Friday, but with a number of key players less than completely fit, England took the field against an unchanged South African side, buoyed by their success in the previous two games.

Once again both sides failed to take their limited chances in a defensive first half in which Kath Johnson and the goalkeeper, Jo Thompson, were prominent for England.

With England's attack struggling to find their rhythm after the interval, a goalless draw appeared most likely until Jane Sixsmith forced her way into the circle where she was obstructed and awarded a penalty stroke. Johnson stepped forward to convert and scored the solitary goal of the game in the 61st minute.

Jenny Cardwell, the England manager, said: 'I am relieved that after 201 minutes against South Africa we have at last scored a goal even if it was a penalty stroke.'

South Africa will be pleased with their series win against the European champions, following their three earlier wins against Zimbabwe on their return to international competition.

There will be much interest in the visit of their men's side to Milton Keynes on 15 August for a Test against England, on their way to Poland for the Intercontinental Cup where they claimed the African berth after their first place in the Africa Cup.

SOUTH AFRICA: N Du Toit; S Calder, B Steyn; M Dobson, G Daniels, K Roberts; R Howell (capt), A Humphries, S Meiring, K Symons, B Tullis.

ENGLAND: J Thompson (Ipswich); K Johnson (Leicester); M Davies (Sutton Coldfield), G Atkins (Bradford), C Cook (Hightown); F Lee (Hightown), S Lister (Ipswich, capt), T Miller (Clifton); J Smith (Chelmsford), J Sixsmith (Sutton Coldfield), S Wright (Slough). Substitutes used: M Nicholls (Ealing), T Cullen (Hightown).

Umpires: J Buchanan (SA) and G Clarke (Eng).