Hockey: Black Sticks draw in Burrows' 300th

By David Leggat

Phil Burrows became the first New Zealander to reach 300 caps. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Phil Burrows became the first New Zealander to reach 300 caps. Photo / Brett Phibbs

New Zealand rounded off their pool play with a 3-3 draw against India at the World League semifinal tournament in Rotterdam today.

The world No 6 Black Sticks will now play world No 7 Spain in their must-win quarter-final early on Thursday morning to stay alive in the tournament from which the top three teams are guaranteed places at January's final in Delhi.

New Zealand finished second in pool B behind hosts the Netherlands, who ensured top spot, and a playoff against lowly France by beating Ireland 5-0 in the final group game this morning.

New Zealand needed a Blair Hilton goal with a fierce reverse stick shot four minutes from the end to get the Black Sticks a share of the points against India.

The game was attacker Phil Burrows' 300th international, the first New Zealander to reach the milestone.

''Today was pretty special for me," Burrows said.

''The guys all dug deep and fought hard.

''It was a bit of a shame I couldn't' get a goal today, but at the end of the day we achieved what we needed to."

Marcus Child had given New Zealand a halftime lead, but the 11th-ranked Indians took the lead with a brace of goals soon after the restart - from Mandeep Singh from open play and VR Ragunath from a low flick at a penalty corner.

Stephen Jenness got the Black Sticks level before Kothajit Singh Khadangbam regained the initiative for India.

New Zealand captain Dean Couzins had a penalty stroke saved before Hilton's late goal.

"It was a fluctuating game and India tried to stretch us with their speed but we did our best to restrict that for most of the game," coach Colin Batch said.

''Our biggest growth continues to be on attack and at this tournament all our strikers have really stepped up."

The draw followed a 3-3 draw against the Netherlands and a 4-2 win over Ireland.

The women's Black Sticks, ranked third, play ninth-ranked Japan in their quarter-final early tomorrow.

- NZ Herald

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