Black Sticks open with win over Pakistan

By Hockey NZ

The Vantage Black Sticks Men have defeated Pakistan 3-2 in the opening test at the National Hockey Stadium in Wellington.

In head coach Darren Smiths first outing as head coach, the Kiwis controlled much of the possession throughout the match despite plenty of pressure from Pakistan.

Defender Cory Bennett delivered a stinging penalty corner flick and set up Sam Lane from another, while hometown hero Stephen Jenness added a terrific field goal for his side.

The clash was extra exciting for Cam Hayde, Nick Elder and Jonty Keaney who all made their Black Sticks debut.

Smith said it was great to come away with a result in his first game at the helm.

"We put together a couple of well executed corners and I thought the team had some good moments throughout the game with encouraging signs," he said.

"I was happy with the work rate and the desire from all players was high. Each of the defenders did a good job and can be proud of their performance.

"We stuck to our task and defended well under pressure at the end so we will now look to put out an even better effort tomorrow."

Lane opened the scoring midway through the second quarter after a well-executed penalty corner variation saw Bennett leave the ball for Lane to hammer into goal.

Pakistan equalised just minutes later when a defensive error allowed Muhammad Dilber to slip a ball past Devon Manchester in goal.

Jenness brought the home crowd to their feet in the 44th minute after receiving a great ball in the circle and dragging right to left around the keeper and finishing on his reverse stick.

Bennett then put the Black Sticks out by two goals 10 minutes from fulltime with a crashing penalty corner flick low and to the right.

Pakistan scored again in the 52nd minute through a Muhammad Aleem Bilal flick but the New Zealand defence held firm to secure the result.

The Vantage Black Sticks are back in action against Pakistan at 4:30pm tomorrow, with live coverage available through www.hockeynz.co.nz/video

VANTAGE BLACK STICKS 3: (Sam Lane, Stephen Jenness, Cory Bennett)

PAKISTAN 2: (Muhammad Dilber, Muhammad Aleem Bilal)

Halftime: 1-1

- This story has been automatically published using a media release from Hockey NZ

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