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Hockeyroos clinch women’s series while Kookaburras go four from four

The Hockeyroos denied the Vantage Black Sticks Women a home town victory with a 3-1 win in the fourth and deciding match of the Sentinel Homes Trans-Tasman series in Palmerston North tonight.

The two women’s sides were unable to be separated after three draws, but tonight the Hockeyroos clinched the series with a convincing victory led by their captain and one of the form players Stephanie Kershaw.

Meanwhile in the men’s match in front of a near capacity crowd of 1500 at the new Massey University turf, Australia continued their winning ways with a 5-1 victory after three previous wins in the series.

In the earlier women’s game, the Black Sticks lost experienced defender Kayla Whitelock in the first few minutes to a knee injury which will be properly assessed in the morning.

Vantage Black Sticks Women Head Coach Graham Shaw said while it wasn’t the result the team wanted tonight, he was happy with the overall performance.

“We made some mistakes at the back and got punished but that’s international hockey. I can’t fault the tenacity we played with and we finished with real intent and real belief so that’s really pleasing.”

Shaw added the side needed to be better at penalty corner time before the return series in Perth at the end of month.

Tonight Hockeyroos skipper Kershaw opened the scoring after eight minutes as she latched on a scramble in front of goal. In the second quarter she turned goalmaker, with a lovely reverse pass across the goalmouth that Kalina Commerford touched in to give the visitors a 2-0 lead at the break.

New Zealand’s all-time record goalscorer Olivia Merry got on the scoresheet near the end of the third quarter as she popped in a rebound off her own initial shot after a cracking cross from Rose Keddell.

Minutes later the Hockeyroos restored their two goal lead with a smashing shot from Savannah Fitzpatrick after a poor clearance from the Black Sticks defence. And that was where the game finished with the visitors taking out the match 3-1.

Hockeyroos 3 (Stephanie Kershaw 8 min, Kalindi Commerford 27 min, Savannah Fitzpatrick 42 min) Vantage Black Sticks 1 (Olivia Merry 39 min) Halftime: 2-0 Hockeyroos.

NZ’s Blair Tarrant looks for support during the Sentinel Homes Trans Tasman Series hockey match between the Vantage Black Sticks Men and the Australian Kookaburras at Massey University Hockey Turf in Palmerston North, New Zealand on Tuesday, 1 June 2021. Photo: Dave Lintott / lintottphoto.co.nz

In the men’s match, Australia got off to another flier and were 2-0 up in the first quarter thanks to goals from Nathan Ephraums and Tom Wickham.

The Black Sticks clawed one back in the second quarter with Shea McAleese converting a penalty stroke after Sam Hiha got a wee nudge in the back.

The Kookaburras restored their two goal lead early in the final quarter with another Jeremy Hayward drag flick penalty corner into the bottom left corner of the goal.

Jacob Anderson added another from a penalty corner rebound, and Wickham took the Australia total to five with the goal of the match as he brilliantly deflected in a Joshua Beltz pass.

Kookaburras 5 (Nathan Ephraums 3 min, Tom Wickham 13 and 54 min, Jeremy Hayward 48 min, Jacob Anderson 53 min) Vantage Black Sticks 1 (Shea McAleesse penalty stroke 28 min) Halftime: 2-1 Kookaburras.

Both Vantage Black Sticks squads for the Olympics will be named on Thursday 10 June.

  • June 1st, 2021 in
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