Commonwealth Games 2002
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Hockey Sunday, 28 July, 2002, 14:19 GMT 15:19 UK
Kookaburras close in on semis
Ben Taylor swoops to score for Australia against South Africa
Ben Taylor (left) swoops to score for Australia

Australia 4-1 South Africa

Commonwealth champions Australia outshone their nearest group rivals South Africa to all but secure a semi-final spot.

Under the baking sun of the Belle Vue hockey centre, Ray Dorsett's men ran their opponents ragged in a superb second-half display.

It took 20 minutes though before Matt Smith opened the scoring from a penalty corner and a rout was on the cards after the Kookaburras peppered Chris Hibbert's goal.

But the South Africans held on up to half-time.

Following the interval, Australia moved up a gear, with Jamie Dwyer doubling their account after 40 minutes followed by a Craig Victory goal, stealing in after Hibbert parried a long-range effort.

Ben Taylor rounded off the Australian scoring moments later before Justin King's penalty stroke gave the South Africans a consolation goal.

Australia now face Barbados in their final group game.

Despite an earlier group game that saw South Africa beat the minnows 10-1, Victory told BBC Sport Online that just getting through the final match was the key concern.

"I think what we do is up to the coach. I can imagine it will be more about winning and preserving ourselves for the semis. Maybe we can work on patterns and tactics."

The 22-year-old added that he was glad to be playing in the sun after having been told that Manchester was a wet place.

"We are actually thrilled at the weather. We heard back home and at the athletes' village that it isn't usually like this," he said.

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