The New Zealand men's hockey team found consolation at the
conclusion of an underwhelming Champions Trophy campaign,
defeating England in golden goal extra time today to avoid
With the score deadlocked at 2-2 at the end of regulation in
Melbourne, Nick Wilson delivered the winning blow by
deflecting a penalty corner strike from Shea McAleese.
It was a deserved victory in the final classification game
for the Black Sticks who, despite their disappointing
seventh-place finish, will take heart from their performances
while blooding a new breed of youngsters.
With coach Colin Batch still in his first month in the job
and several senior players unavailable, New Zealand were
always up against it in this tournament.
While today's win was their first, they twice competed well
against world No 1 Germany and also pushed the Netherlands,
playing Australia for gold later today, in their
Throughout the tournament the Black Sticks have gradually
improved, with the younger players beginning to combine well
with more experienced members of the squad.
"There's no doubt we've got some players of the future and
giving them exposure in a tour situation is very important,"
Batch said. "We've grown a lot throughout the tournament and,
while we've had some disappointment, we're showing some
positive signs for the future."
Yesterday's (Sat) disappointing 6-4 loss to Germany, a game
the Black Sticks led 2-0 at halftime, ensured New Zealand
would finish outside the top five and miss out on automatic
qualification for the next edition of the tournament. But
Batch was impressed with his side's resilience in regrouping
from the defeat to sign off with a win.
"No matter where you finish in a tournament it's important to
finish with a win and we're very pleased to do that," Batch
said. "We learnt some lessons from yesterday against Germany
and full credit to the players and the way they played and
finished the match today."
It was a frustrating first half for the Black Sticks, who
again created a huge number of scoring opportunities but
could convert only one. Striker Stephen Jenness gave the
Black Sticks the lead after Phil Burrows pounced on a poor
England back pass and delivered the ball into the circle.
But the English struck back late in the period with Darren
Cheesman turning out two defenders to shoot past Devon
Manchester in goal. The Black Sticks continued to create
chances in the second spell but, with 15 minutes remaining,
the English broke the deadlock.
The deficit provided a spark for the Kiwis, with much greater
urgency building into a vicious reverse shot from Nick Wilson
from the top of the circle to level the score.
With neither side able to capitalise in the final minutes,
the game moved into the first golden goal extra time of the
tournament. The Black Sticks were to side to step up their
game and, after winning a penalty corner, Wilson connected
with his second goal to seal victory.
New Zealand 3 (Stephen Jenness, Nick Wilson 2), England 2
(Darren Cheesman, Barry Middleton). HT: 1-1.