Hockey women win in huge form reversal

Dominic Newman charges ahead against Australia last night. Photo / phorosport.nz
Dominic Newman charges ahead against Australia last night. Photo / phorosport.nz

The New Zealand women's hockey team staged a remarkable turnaround in fortunes, beating their Australian counterparts 2-0 in Auckland last night.

The result came two days after a 6-0 hammering by the Aussies.

Mark Hager's side led 2-0 at halftime on the back of a more aggressive approach and, despite coming under pressure in the second spell, deserved their victory. It was their fourth win over Australia in seven games this year.

Olivia Merry opened the scoring with Rachel McCann adding a second when she capitalised on a mistake in the Australian defence. The two sides meet again today in their third and final test.

"It was the embarrassment of how we played [the other night]," Hager said of the turnaournd. "I thought we were soft as the other night. We capitulated.

"I told them to get in there and give it a crack. It will be tough tomorrow but I would like to think we can do it. That's the mark of a good player, to do it again."

The New Zealand men's team couldn't turn things around in their series with Australia, going down 2-1 last night. It meant Australia claimed the inaugural Trans-Tasman Trophy series.

The world No 1 Australians prevailed in the opening match 4-2 after being 2-1 down against the eighth-ranked New Zealanders, who are debuting eight players this series. Several hundreds caps of experience are absent including Simon Child, Shea McAleese, Ryan Archibald, Hugo Inglis and Blair Hilton. Injuries, post-Rio Olympic breaks and European playing commitments have taken their toll.

Two second-quarter goals helped the Kookaburras sew up the match, with striker Daniel Beale glancing the ball into the net beyond goalkeeper George Enersen's desperate lunges.

That was followed by defender Chris Bausor stepping up five minutes before halftime to drill a regulation penalty stroke as rain fell on the hockey faithful at Pakuranga's Lloyd Elsmore Stadium.

The goals came after New Zealand earned the first penalty corner of the match. A Cory Bennett drag flick, which was headed for the top left-hand corner, was tipped over the goal via lightning reactions from custodian Tyler Lovell.

The hosts responded in the third quarter with some masterful weaving between defenders and threading of the ball to reduce the deficit to one goal through Kim Kingstone, who was playing his second test.

A penalty corner with nine minutes to go gave the Black Sticks a chance to equalise but captain Nick Haig's shot shaved the right of the goal mouth. A similar chance was squandered in the final minute of the third quarter.

- NZ Herald

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