Olympic place for Britain

Hockey: Great Britain 1 South Africa 0
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The Independent Online

reports from Cape Town

Great Britain 1 South Africa 0

Great Britain went into their last game of the Olympic qualifying tournament knowing they needed at least a draw against South Africa to book their ticket to the Olympics in Atlanta. Saturday's workmanlike victory saw them into second place as the last day's games unfolded.

China came from behind to beat Argentina 2-1 and had to wait until the last game of the day to know their fate. With the Netherlands going behind against Germany after six minutes, the Chinese were beginning to celebrate the thought of their first Olympics. But the Dutch, needing a victory to avoid missing the Olympics for the first time, stormed back to win 3-2.

With Jane Sixsmith firing on all cylinders, Britain always looked capable of getting the point they needed against South Africa. Nevertheless, they had to wait until the 29th minute for the solitary goal. Sixsmith, making a lot of ground down the right wing, cut in to provide a chance from close quarters and Rhona Simpson scored.

Although South Africa put up spirited resistance, they never looked like penetrating a well-marshalled British defence in which Jill Atkins was the pick. However, plenty of work lies ahead in the coming months. An injection of speed into the defence appears essential, and some changes in the front runners may be necessary.

GREAT BRITAIN: J Thompson (Ipswich); S Fraser (Grove), J Atkins (Bradford Swithenbank, capt), D Renilson (Edinburgh), L Cope (Leicester); M Davies (Sutton Canada Life), P Robertson (Grove), T Miller (Clifton); M Nicholls (Slough), J Sixsmith (Sutton Canada Life), A Bennett (Slough). Substitutes used: R Simpson (Edinburgh), S MacDonald (Glasgow Western), C Cook (Hightown).

SOUTH AFRICA: N Du Toit; S Calder; G Daniels, S Cormack, J Geyser; K Roberts (capt), L Carlisle, P De Bruin, A Dare, C Matthew, C Bentley. Substitutes used: K Bee, M MacNaughton.