Hockey: Canterbury women upset defending champs

Canterbury beat Auckland 3-2 to remain top of the NHL table.
Canterbury beat Auckland 3-2 to remain top of the NHL table.

Canterbury women delivered the major upset in today's third round of the Ford National Hockey League (NHL) at Auckland's Lloyd Elsmore Hockey Stadium when they beat Auckland 3-2.

Up against the more favoured Auckland side, Canterbury stunned the defending champions with two early goals to Olivia Merry and Rachel McCann.

A second half penalty corner goal to Auckland's Honor Carter gave the home side some hope but an almost instant reply from Sophie Cocks restored Canterbury's two-goal lead. A late Auckland goal to Australian Kate Hollywood couldn't deny Canterbury a 3-2 victory to retain their unbeaten record and go clear at the top of the table.

Meanwhile, Midlands women were spurred into action by the return of their Olympians as they overpowered Capital in the second half to win 4-0. Both Cat Finlayson and Clarissa Eshuis, in their first games back for Midlands after their efforts in London, were in goalscoring form.

In other women's matches, Central had a comfortable 3-0 victory over Northland and North Harbour beat Southern 2-1.

In the men's feature match of the day, Capital showed good composure in the second spell to come from behind and beat Midlands 5-3.

Ahead 3-2 at halftime, Midlands didn't appear to be missing Australian Olympic bronze medallist Tim Deavin, who had to return to Tasmania. But they floundered in the second half, with New Zealand development squad member Jacob Smith leading the Capital revival with two goals.

In other men's games, North Harbour's Joseph Bartholomew slotted in two late penalty corner goals to give his side a 2-0 victory over Central, Canterbury comfortably beat Northland 6-1 and Auckland knocked over Southern 2-1.

The NHL continues tomorrow with round four action at Auckland's Lloyd Elsmore Hockey Stadium and runs through the week.

- APNZ

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