Black Sticks Women win gold in Darwin
Black-Sticks-Women-win-gold-in-DarwinThe Black Sticks Women have beaten Australia 2-0 to win gold at the International Hockey Open in Darwin
Photo courtesy Tim Nicol
The Black Sticks Women have won gold at the International Hockey Open in Darwin after an impressive 2-0 result over hosts Australia in the final.
Edged by the Hockeyroos in Wednesday’s round robin match, the Kiwis came out firing in the final and were resolute on both sides of the ball.
The Black Sticks were fuelled by goals from Kelsey Smith (24th minute) and Olivia Merry (30th minute) while staunch defence ensured the rare feat of keeping Australia scoreless.
It was the perfect ending to the tournament for Canterbury striker Sophie Cocks who brought up her 100th international cap.
Head coach Mark Hager said it was an impressive performance with every player stepping up to the high pressure challenge.
“It was a good solid effort from us, especially given the calibre of some of the players we were missing but it just shows we have some really good depth,” he said.
“Our defence played a terrific game – they peppered us in the second half but both Amelia Gibson and Georgia Barnett played well in goal.
“We didn’t have a bad player out there tonight and that’s what you need to win big games. We’re not getting ahead of ourselves though, we have big ambitions for the Champions Trophy in a few weeks and then our pinnacle the Rio Olympics.”
The Black Sticks played at a high intensity from the opening whistle, and finally cracked the Australian defence in the 24th minute when Smith collected a bouncing ball and drove into goal to give her side the lead.
Canterbury striker Merry doubled the advantage right before halftime with a strong forehand shot from the top of the circle off New Zealand’s first penalty corner of the match.
Australia created some dangerous scoring opportunities in the third quarter but the Black Sticks defenders held strong, especially goalkeeper Georgia Barnett who made an outstanding one-on-one save after Emily Smith received a long range ball in the circle.
The victorious Black Sticks now head home for final preparations ahead of the Champions Trophy in London from 19-27 June, with the team to compete at the tournament to be named this week.
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BLACK STICKS 2: (Kelsey Smith, Olivia Merry)
Halftime: Black Sticks 2-0
- June 4th, 2016 in