Hockey: Black Sticks Women flatten India

By David Leggat

Samantha Charlton of Black Sticks Women. Photo / Photosport
Samantha Charlton of Black Sticks Women. Photo / Photosport

Goals weren't an issue for the women's Black Sticks in tonight's second international against India at Pukekohe.

The fifth-ranked New Zealand team flattened India 8-2 at Rosa Birch Park to take a 2-0 lead in the five-match series. New Zealand won the first international 4-1 at the same venue on Sunday.

This series is being used as something of a selection exercise by New Zealand coach Mark Hager.

All 25 squad players will have at least three appearances as he looks to prepare a team for the World League semifinals in Brussels next month.

Hager will be liking what he's seeing, considering he's unlikely to play a first-team side until later in the series.

The scoreline blew out in the final quarter as New Zealand rattled in four goals in the last eight minutes.

The last time New Zealand passed eight goals was the 31-0 blowout against Samoa at the Oceania tournament in late 2015, and there was a 12-0 shellacking of Poland a couple of months earlier in Antwerp.

Black Sticks star Stacey Michelsen has had injury issues since returning from last year's Rio Olympics. She put those behind her in grabbing a fine hat-trick and showing some classy touches.

Attacker Sam Harrison snagged two goals with the other three coming from Kirsten Pearce, Maddie Doar and Steph Dickins, the latter two getting their debut international goals.

World No 12 India got goals from Liliana Minz, from a penalty corner in the third quarter and Anupa Barla scored just before New Zealand's late goal burst.

''In the first quarter India probably had the run of most of the play," Black Sticks assistant coach Sean Dancer said.

''We scored our first against run of play. It wasn't a great quarter but to girls credit they certainly stepped it up and scored some good goals."

There are a number of players vying for World League selection. Hands are being put up by players wanting to catch the selectors' eye.

''We're looking at the big picture and trying to give plenty of people opportunities," Dancer said.

''Maddie Doar has certainly had a couple of good games, along with a lot of other girls who are doing a good job at the moment."

There are some niggling injuries in the squad, notably key defender Liz Thompson, while Rose Keddell is battling a virus but no injuries are rated serious.

The third game of the series is at the same venue tomorrow night.

- NZ Herald

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