A depleted Great Britain’s hockey women side lost 3-1 to South Africa in the opening match of the London Cup, their final tournament before the Olympics.
Wellingborough’s Anne Panter, who is in the British squad for the London Games, started the match, which saw the hosts missing the key duo of striker Alex Danson and defender Crista Cullen and also Wales international Sarah Thomas - all omitted from the squad because of injury - while captain Kate Walsh was also left out of the game.
With that senior quartet missing South Africa took advantage to race into a 2-0 half-time lead through Sulette Damons and Bernie Coston at the University of Westminster Sports Ground in Chiswick.
When Jen Wilson added a third 12 minutes from time the result was sealed as University of Birmingham’s Susie Gilbert late response made no difference.
“Missing 25 per cent of our Olympic squad is a tough ask but the reality was that we still got enough chances in the game to get a result,” said coach Danny Kerry.
“Once we were down we went after the game really well and generated opportunities. We know which areas to improve on.”
GB now face Germany tomorrow evening, while in the other match Olympic champions Holland came from behind to beat Australia 2-1 thanks to two goals from Maartje Paumen.