A hat-trick by Auckland striker Katie Glynn today helped New Zealand to a comfortable 4-1 win over England in a top-of-table hockey clash at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.
The result has virtually booked the unbeaten Black Sticks a place in the semifinals, with one pool fixture against Canada to go tomorrow.
The clash pitted together the group's two top nations, with England the tournament's top seeds by virtue of a world ranking of No 5, while the seventh-ranked Black Sticks are the third seeds.
But New Zealand dominated large patches of the contest at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium and Glynn's triple strike put the icing on the cake.
The Blacks Sticks had a great chance with the match barely under way, when Gemma Flynn centred from the left and skipper Kayla Sharland's firm shot produced a fine reaction save from keeper Beth Storry.
But it was England who opened the scoring with a field goal, after Nicola White's cross was deflected in by Ashleigh Ball.
New Zealand bit back in the 25th minute, after Sam Harrison turned a cross goalwards.
It was saved by a defender, but the ball ricochet back off Harrison into the net.
The Black Sticks, who wore black arm bands as a mark of respect for Junior Black Stick Julia King's mother, who passed away last night, continued to have more of the play.
They almost went ahead when they won the game's first penalty corner.
Glynn met Flynn's corner firmly, but Storry again came to England's rescue by parrying the ball wide.
However, Glynn wasn't to be denied seconds before halftime, when she scored a superb goal.
Receiving the ball on the edge of the circle, she was pushed wide by the defence but still managed to crack a shot home from a tight angle.
While New Zealand continued to dominate possession, England had their moments and keeper Beth Jurgeleit was called to make three saves in quick succession midway through the second half
However, another great individual effort from Glynn gave the New Zealanders breathing space.
The 21-year-old went past two defenders before firing home a reverse stick shot.
She completed her hat-trick two minutes later, finishing off a fine team effort by poking the ball in from close range.