Hockey: Black Sticks beat India in tournament opener

Pippa Hayward scored for the Black Sticks. Photo / Duncan Brown
Pippa Hayward scored for the Black Sticks. Photo / Duncan Brown

The Black Sticks Women have begun their International Hockey Open series with a 4-1 win over India at the Marrara Hockey Stadium in Darwin.

New Zealand shook off a slow start and a tight 1-0 halftime lead to dominate the second half and score three unanswered goals in the space of six minutes in the fourth quarter.

Canterbury midfielder Pippa Hayward scored a double while Petrea Webster and Anita McLaren (formerly Punt) added to the score sheet.

Head coach Mark Hager said it was pleasing to open the four nations series with a win, although there was plenty to work on.

"It's always good to start with a win but there are definitely areas we need to work on and tighten up ahead of our next game against Australia," he said.

"We created a lot of chances but need to get better at converting more of those, and at times we went off the boil a bit so it's maintaining intensity for the full 60 minutes."

After a goalless first quarter, Hayward lit up the score board in the 18th minute off the back of a good baseline run and pass from Rachel McCann.

Hayward was in action again in the 47th minute after controlling a pass in the circle and slipping a shot through the feet of Savita in goal.

McLaren extended the buffer to three goals nine minutes from fulltime when she received on the run from a counter attack and smashed a shot past Savita's shoulder from the top of the circle.

Webster put the result beyond any doubt two minutes later with a superb one-time shot after an Indian mistrap in the circle.

A terrific individual effort from Anuradha Thokchom just before the final whistle saw India score a consolation goal.

The Black Sticks take to the turf against hosts Australia at 9:30pm tomorrow (NZ time), with live coverage through Epicentre.tv

The International Hockey Open is part of New Zealand's build up for the Champions Trophy in London from 19-27 June and the Rio Olympic Games in August.

- NZ Herald

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