South Africa women’s hockey team beat Italy 2-1 in their second FIH Hockey Series Final Pool B game in Valencia, Spain on Thursday with goals from Bianca Wood and Dirkie Chamberlain while Italy replied with a Eugenia Bianchi goal in the final quarter.

It was a clash of two teams ranked in the top 20, both feverishly seeking a place in the FIH Olympic qualifiers to be played in October and November and this was always going to be a feisty matchup.

Coach Robin van Ginkel says it was important for the team to bounce back with a win after their opening draw against Wales on Wednesday.

Thursday’s result means that Wales,  who beat Thailand 7-0 top Pool B on goal difference, with South Africa is in second place, Italy third and Thailand in fourth. Another achievement to celebrate was SA’s Celia Evans celebrating her 150th cap for the country.

Next up for South Africa is a fixture against Thailand on Saturday with Wales and Italy only playing after that match and SA will look to win convincingly to steer themselves straight into the semi-finals. – Report by Jefferson Lupuwana