Daniel Richardson

Daniel Richardson is a Wellington-based sports journalist for NZME. News Service.

Hockey: Black Sticks fall to China

Anita Punt of the Black Sticks. Photo / Getty Images.
Anita Punt of the Black Sticks. Photo / Getty Images.

A pair of drag flick goals to Mengyu Wang has given China a 2-1 victory over the women's Black Sticks at the Six Nations tournament in Hastings.

Wang nailed two precision strikes in the second spell and erased an earlier Anita Punt effort for the home side, who were wasteful with possession today.

The Black Sticks had the better of the first spell at the Unison Hockey Stadium, although the seventh-ranked Chinese outfit defended stoutly and are an organised lot.

New Zealand opened the tournament, which is part of the inaugural Hawkes Bay Festival of Hockey, with a 3-1 win over Korea yesterday and coach Mark Hager said he wanted better ball security from his side on attack.

Hager won't have been impressed with that facet of his side's play today as too often they were unable to mount enough consistent pressure with the turnover ball they created.

The first half was an even affair and neither side were able to conjure up many clear chances.

Straight after the break Punt gave New Zealand the lead when she finished from an acute angle but the home side were unable to build on their advantage as Wang delivered two of the best.

The Black Sticks earned a collection of penalty corners with 10 minutes left but were unable to find the silver bullet strike to even the game up.

Wang's ability at penalty corners was a threat throughout the game and she could have added a third with five minutes left but Black Sticks goalkeeper Bianca Russell made a fine save.

New Zealand's next game is against the second-ranked Argentina on Tuesday.

In today's earlier results, Argentina continued their good form with a 5-1 win over Korea, while Australia scraped past Japan 1-0.

China 2 (Mengyu Wang 2) Black Sticks 1 (Anita Punt) Halftime: 0-0

- APNZ

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