Hockey: Black Sticks Women dominate India

Ella Gunson of the Black Sticks against India. Photo / Photosport
Ella Gunson of the Black Sticks against India. Photo / Photosport

The Black Sticks Women have defeated India 4-1 in the opening match of the series at Rosa Birch Park in Pukekohe.

New Zealand played a complete game on both attack and defence with the midfielders and strikers putting together some creative phases of play.

The Black Sticks scored two goals in each half with Jordan Grant, Olivia Merry, Rachel McCann and Deanna Ritchie all finding the back of the net.

Head coach for the series Sean Dancer said it was an impressive way to set the tone.

"I thought it was a really competitive game, especially early on but we really stepped it up and took control in many aspects," he said.

"We did well up front and that was shown by the number and quality of goals we scored. There were some great scoring instincts in the attacking circle and that was a real credit to the girls.

"All the girls worked hard and put in a good performance today but we can't be complacent, we need to go away and focus on test two on Tuesday night."

The Kiwis made a fast start from the opening whistle and controlled much of the possession as India struggled to find passing channels.

Grant opened the scoring in the 13th minute after getting the final touch on a cracking shot at goal from Merry.

The Black Sticks doubled their lead 10 minutes later thanks to a passage of play which saw McCann fire a perfect pass to Merry who slotted a goal through the keeper's legs.

India responded after the halftime break with Anupa Barla sneaking behind the New Zealand defence to score and claw back at the deficit.

The Kiwis continued fighting against the more settled Indians but extended their lead to 3-2 in the 43rd minute when Grant smacked a shot at goal for McCann to deflect in on the dive.

Ritchie sealed the result in stunning fashion five minutes from fulltime when she put pressure on the Indian fullback and stole the ball before lobbing over the keeper's head.

With a day off tomorrow, both teams are back in action in the second test at Pukekohe at 7pm on Tuesday night.

Black Sticks 4 (Jordan Grant, Olivia Merry, Rachel McCann, Deanna Ritchie)
India 1 (Anupa Barla)
Halftime: New Zealand 2-0

- NZ Herald

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