Hockey: Black Sticks seal series

By David Leggat

Ella Gunson in action for the Black Sticks during the series against India. Photo / photosport.nz
Ella Gunson in action for the Black Sticks during the series against India. Photo / photosport.nz

It was a different type of game, and a far different scoreline from 24 hours earlier for New Zealand in their third women's hockey international against India in Pukekohe tonight.

Following their 8-2 belting of the Indians at the same venue on Tuesday night, the Black Sticks wrapped up their five-game series against the tourists with a 3-2 win.

Where 12th ranked India committed plenty of players forward to try and press New Zealand into errors a day ago, tonight they sat back more, made the fifth-ranked Black Sticks come to them and it worked far better.

Experienced midfielder Ella Gunson got New Zealand on the board with a penalty stroke, to equalise a ninth-minute strike from Deep Ekka.

By halftime New Zealand were in front through a Deanna Ritchie deflection.

Midfielder Shiloh Gloyn, with a neat reverse stick shot, grabbed the third New Zealand goal nine minutes after halftime before Monika got the second Indian goal from a penalty corner just before the end.

The squad is doing plenty of swapping about during the series, giving players as much game time as possible. The down side of that is it can cause problems for players in terms of unfamiliarity.

''It's the theme of the series. We're constantly changing the lineup," Gunson said.
''India fell away on their press whereas the day before they were quite aggressive. It was quite different for us.

''Credit to them, they played it well, they threw something at us and we need to learn to adapt and change."

Gunson acknowledged the challenging aspect of swapping players about.

''But it's good for us to learn to adapt and play the game as you see it."

Game four and five of the series is in Hamilton on Friday and Saturday.

- NZ Herald

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