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Hockeyroos hold Dutch champs to a draw

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By JONATHAN COOK

Cape Town - A very strong wind did nothing to deter world number one and Olympic champions The Netherlands and world number six Australia from putting on an exciting opening match of the Investec Challenge at Hartleyvale Stadium in Cape Town Monday evening.

Australia’s golden Hockeyroos opened the scoring in the eight minute after the skilful Emily Smith won a penalty corner and Casey Eastham popped in the rebound (1-0).

Turning around 1-0 to the good, The Aussies continued to defend with remarkable tenacity but the dam had to break and Maartje Paumen equalised in the 41st minute from a PC (1-1).

Australia were not done yet and from a PC in the 56th minute Anna Flanagan slid a pinpoint pass to Georgia Nanscawen that was tipped into the net (2-1).

There were many goalscoring opportunities in this match and a superb defensive display and fast counter-attacks served the Hockeyroos well, but once again the relentless, technically blessed Dutch were not to be denied and Kelly Jonker made it 2-2 in the 66th minute.

This entertaining Test match, which also saw the Aussies clear from their goalline and the Dutch survive a shot that hit the goalpost, was the perfect starter before the much-anticipated clash between England and South Africa – set to kick off at 8 pm.

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