Hockey: NZ women to tackle Indians in Bay tests


The New Zealand women's hockey team will play the first two of six tests against India in Napier during December.

Palmerston North and Wellington will also be used for the December 8-15 series. These will be the first outings for the Black Sticks since the London Olympics, where they finished fourth.

"We have had a number of tests in the wider Auckland region in the last year, and on the back of the Olympics, we wanted to give other cities the opportunity to host some games," Hockey New Zealand chief executive Hilary Poole said.

Hawke's Bay Hockey general manager Don Clark said to have the Black Sticks play in the Bay would be amazing, especially considering the sponsorship the region had given both Black Sticks teams in their Olympics buildup.

"There is a strong hockey community here - we have had a 10 per cent increase in our winter registration numbers and our summer player numbers have grown substantially as well - so we are expecting a good, vocal crowd at both games," Clark said.

The series will have a familiar feel for both teams. The last time India came to New Zealand was in 2010 and games were hosted at the same three venues.

The Black Sticks team will be named after a November 14-18 selection camp. The existing wider squad of 35 will be split into a national squad comprising 25 players and a development squad of 10.

The Black Sticks will spend a week training in Hawke's Bay before the first test. Head coach for the side, Mark Hager, said some new caps were likely.

"With four senior players having an extended break and where we are at in an Olympic cycle, it is a good chance to expose players to international competition," Hager said.

Information about the test series will be posted on www.hockeynz.co.nz and www.facebook.com/nzblacksticks.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n6 at 20 Aug 2014 20:48:34 Processing Time: 520ms