Hockey: Black Sticks in battle for survival

Kiwis face rugged quarter-final in Champion's Trophy after failing to take chances in 1-1 draw with England.

The Black Sticks face rugged quarter-final in Champion's Trophy after failing to take chances in 1-1 draw with England. Photo / Getty Images
The Black Sticks face rugged quarter-final in Champion's Trophy after failing to take chances in 1-1 draw with England. Photo / Getty Images

New Zealand's men's Black Sticks hockey team will have a tough quarter-final clash against Netherlands at the Champion's Trophy in Melbourne after they were held to a 1-1 draw with England in their final pool game yesterday.

The Colin Batch-coached outfit were in dire need of a victory, having dropped their opening two Pool A encounters against Germany (3-2) and India (4-2) earlier in the week.

Despite a late rally, the Black Sticks were unable to find a winner and the result meant they finished pool play as the fourth seed and Pool B winners Netherlands in the knockout stages.

New Zealand had to come from behind after an early lapse saw goalkeeper Hamish McGregor caught out of position and England's Mark Gleghorne took advantage as he put his team in front early in the first half.

After absorbing plenty of English pressure, the Black Sticks eventually worked their way back into the game and won a couple of penalty corners late in the first spell but they were unable to convert their chances.

After their early worries the New Zealanders also managed to add some steel to their defence as they kept the English attackers largely in check.

As the game progressed, the Black Sticks managed to assert a level of dominance but struggled to find the elusive last touch.

Wellington striker Stephen Jenness started the game from the bench with a hand injury and he appeared to play through the pain as he had a glove on his hand.

Jenness managed to turn provider with only seven minutes left in the contest as he laid on a ball for veteran Phil Burrows who found the back of the net to draw the sides level.

New Zealand's quarter-final is tomorrow at 5pm.

- APNZ

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