Black Sticks teams still searching for win

Daniel Beale of Australia challenges Kane Russell of New Zealand during the Trans-Tasman Series...
Daniel Beale of Australia challenges Kane Russell of New Zealand during the Trans-Tasman Series Hockey Match between New Zealand and Australia. Photo: Getty Images
It was daytime hockey for the first time in the transtasman series in Palmerston North yesterday, but the home sides are still without a win.

In the first-up women’s clash, a much improved effort from the Black Sticks in the second half gave the crowd hope of a home side victory after two earlier draws but it was not to be, as a late Australian goal left the final score at 2-2.

The Kookaburras won 4-2 to collect their third win of the series in probably their best performance.

Black Sticks men’s coach Darren Smith said Australia was clearly the better team yesterday.

“They dominated possession and we fed off scraps. We managed to get a couple of goals to put us back in the match but we let them score goals off our mistakes.”

The Kookaburras got off to a flyer of a start with two goals in the first eight minutes.

While Australia was down to nine players, Kane Russell clawed one back for the home side with a perfectly positioned penalty corner drag flick into the bottom left corner. But within a minute Australia had restored its two-goal lead, when Blake Govers converted a penalty stroke won by Lachlan Sharp.

And just before the half-time break, Oliver MacIntyre scored his first goal for his country with a cracking drag flick to leave the halftime score at 3-2 to the Kookaburras.

A nice Nathan Ephraums touch gave the Kookaburras a 4-2 lead in a dominant third quarter, and it retained that lead until the final whistle.

In the women’s series, tomorrow night’s final test will be a winner-takes-all affair after another draw.

The Hockeyroos took an early lead when Maddy Fitzpatrick fired a penalty corner into the top right corner.

Midway through the second quarter, Julia King equalised for the home side with a reverse shot from the top of the circle after a lovely through pass from captain Stacey Michelsen.

The biggest cheer of the day came in the third quarter when experienced defender Ella Gunson latched on to a rebound from an Olivia Merry penalty corner strike to give the home side a 2-1 lead.

With just two minutes to go, Rosie Malone scored the equaliser.

The fourth and final matches in the series are tomorrow.

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