Black Sticks Men 3
Black Sticks Women 0
The New Zealand men's and women's hockey teams both made losing starts to their FIH Pro League campaigns in Auckland yesterday.
The men opened the double header with a 4-3 defeat to the Netherlands before the Black Sticks women fell 1-0, also to the Dutch.
The men's Black Sticks were 3-0 down inside the opening quarter before fighting their way back into the contest with three second-quarter goals. Hugo Inglis grabbed a double before Kane Russell drag-flicked home an equaliser.
After some back-and-forth play through the second half when both sides had more scoring chances, the Netherlands earned a penalty corner in the 44th minute which proved the decisive play.
George Enersen came up with a save for New Zealand but the Dutch took the resultant long corner quickly and caught the Black Sticks napping.
Thierry Brinkman powered home a reverse shot to put the Netherlands back in front 4-3.
There was a tense finish to the match, with both teams reduced to 10 men and the Black Sticks squandering a late penalty corner.
The women's encounter was an equally tight affair, with Maartje Krekelaar scoring the only goal in the 38th minute.
The first quarter was played evenly, with both sides constructing some excellent scoring opportunities. Each time, the goalkeepers were up to the task.
The Netherlands had the first penalty corner of the match but struggled to get a clear shot off and the initial challenge was shut down.
The rest of the second half was played out in similar fashion, with both sides showing some great attacking flair but the required final touch was often lacking.
The Netherlands struck first deep into the third quarter when lightning striker Krekelaar shot home a well worked goal to give the world champions the lead.
This seemed to spark the Black Sticks women into life and they pushed hard as the quarter wound down trying to find the equaliser. Despite creating a few opportunities, the Black Sticks were unable to break through.
The New Zealand sides will look to bounce back when they host the Belgium men's and women's sides on Friday at North Harbour Hockey Stadium.
Netherlands 4 (Thierry Brinkman 9, 44, Jonas De Geus 12, Jip Janssen 14)
Black Sticks Men 3 (Hugo Inglis 16, 28, Kane Russell 30)
Netherlands 1 (Maartje Krekelaar 38)
Black Sticks Women 0