Dutch comeback sinks Black Sticks in series sweep

Simon Child of the New Zealand Black Sticks passes the ball during an international men's hockey match. Photo / Getty
Simon Child of the New Zealand Black Sticks passes the ball during an international men's hockey match. Photo / Getty

The Netherlands completed a 3-0 clean sweep over New Zealand with a 4-2 win in the final international in Groningen today.

But the world No 2 Dutch had to fight back after conceding a 2-0 lead to the Black Sticks.

Goals from Nick Wilson and Stephen Jenness gave eighth-ranked New Zealand a big chance to finish the series on a high note.

Wilson scored in the fifth minute from a well-worked field goal, and Jenness doubled the lead four minutes before halftime when he deflected in a penalty corner strike.

However the Dutch came roaring out in the second spell to bag four unanswered goals, two in the third quarter to level the game up, and two more in the final quarter to seal the victory. The Netherlands had won the first two matches 1-0 and 2-0.

Head coach Colin Batch said the result was disappointing but there were plenty of learnings to come out of the game.

"I thought we had a really good first half and it was pleasing to be able to execute on our chances and go out by two goals," he said.

"We knew a team as good as the Netherlands were always going to come back, and they certainly did. We weren't able to contain them at all at times in the second half."

Batch said the series had been a good experience for his team, and showed him how much work the Black Sticks needed to do ahead of the Rio Olympics and the Six Nations tournament, which will be their final proper shakedown before the Games, in Valencia starting next week.

New Zealand's opening game in Valencia is against hosts Spain early next Tuesday morning (NZT).

- NZ Herald

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