Kerry rues absence of four top names as Britain lose to South Africa
GREAT Britain hockey coach Danny Kerry insists he is taking no risks with his injury-hit women's squad in the build-up to the London 2012 Olympics.
CONCERN: Danny Kerry, the Great Britain's women's hockey coach, is still sweating on the fitness of some star players ahead of the London 2012 Olympics (Ady Kerry)
Kerry was without star striker Alex Danson, penalty corner specialist Crista Cullen, captain Kate Walsh and Sarah Thomas, as his team were beaten 3-1 by South Africa at the Investec London Cup in Chiswick.
Danson and Cullen were both injured at the recent Olympic test event while Walsh is on antibiotics after picking up an infection and Thomas is recovering from turning her ankle two weeks ago.
So after South Africa raced into a 2-0 first half lead, courtesy of strikes from Sulette Damons and Bernadette Coston, it was always going to be tough for the world number four side.
Bernadette Coston increased the visitors' advantage after the break and Susie Gilbert didn't get the hosts on the scoresheet until five minutes from time.
“Missing 25 percent of your Olympic squad is a tough ask," said Kerry.
"We’ve got some reasonable depth but if you take Kate Walsh, Crista Cullen, Alex Danson and Sarah Thomas out of any squad, and those four players would get on most Olympic teams, if not all, it's a big ask.
"Crista and Alex look like they’re getting held back a little. Alex, if she had her way, she’d be playing, and if there were an Olympic Games now, chances are she could be playing.
"Crista warmed up and she’s now allowed to do multi-directional stuff and again if this were the Games, she'd probably be out there but there’s no point in taking that risk here.
"Sarah is a little bit further behind in her rehab. She went over on her ankle about two weeks ago but we’re very optimistic she’ll be fine for the Olympics
"Kate is on antibiotics, we may see her here this week and we may not, but we don’t want to take a risk.”
But despite the high-profile absentees, Kerry was still disappointed with the result against a team ranked eight places below them in the world standings.
"I’m very annoyed at losing 3-1 but look behind the score line and the reality was they knew how to defend and when they had their chances they took them," he added.
"However, we’ve still played enough hockey in the South Africa circle to draw the game."
© Sportsbeat 2012