The UK Under 25 Ladies team managed to recover from an initial defeat in South Africa to beat both the invitational mixed teams (featuring players from Zimbabwe, Australia and the UK) and the South Africa President’s team to qualify for the final tomorrow (Sunday the 14th of July). The UK Ladies started poorly against the invitational team on Friday and found themselves down after two chukkas but recovered and played well to see out the match and win 23-20.
In the next match on the Saturday they again started slowly but they did not concede too many goals and by the end of chukka four it was even. Some hard play followed but once again after a lot of goals had been scored it was still level by the end of chukka six.
Chukka seven saw the UK Ladies remained unchanged as they had been all game, with Charlotte Pykett out the back, Emily Gilfillan in the middle and Sammy Rowden out the front. The UK put pressure on South Africa and forced mistakes and when the UK did give the ball away they defended hard and did not let the South Africa Ladies capitalise, getting the ball back each time. It was not a high scoring chukka but all the goals went the way of the UK putting them 3 goals ahead.
The final chukka saw Annie Waterer again at number 3, Bryony Cross coming into the middle to replace Hazel Wilson and Annie Mitchell at number 1. The UK girls took control straight away scoring four quick goals, meaning the UK had a seven goal lead with only three minutes to go but as their fans started to relax South Africa made a valiant push and started pulling the lead back with some quick goals but it was too little too late and the score finished 19-24 to the UK. The UK Ladies will now play against the South Africa team which they lost to on day 1 in the final tomorrow after South Africa defeated all comers to top the round robin competition.
However while the UK Ladies triumphed their men continued to suffer as they went down 39-14 to the invitational mixed team and then lost their match to the South Africa Presidents side despite fighting hard to the very last and winning a few of the chukkas. However, apparently they remain in good spirits and are delighted with all they are learning from the experience.
Meanwhile in Ireland the Junior Quadrangular continues and the UK Under 16s managed to overcome the South Africa Juniors 18-16 in a very fast paced and exciting match. In very muddy conditions (which probably favoured the UK side slightly) the two teams gave no quarter as they battled in front of a very appreciative audience before the UK just managed to grab themselves a lead at the end and hold onto it to run out winners.