NZ women triumph; men outgunned

Olivia Merry (left), of New Zealand, is congratulated by team-mates after scoring a goal during...
Olivia Merry (left), of New Zealand, is congratulated by team-mates after scoring a goal during her team’s Women’s FIH Pro League match against Great Britain at the Nga Puna Wai sports hub in Christchurch last night. Photo: Getty Images
The  Black Sticks women have rebounded spectacularly from their shock loss to Belgium a week ago to beat Great Britain in Christchurch last night.

The Black Sticks showed an improved focus at both ends of the field as they won 5-1 to gain their first points of the FIH Pro League. Looking to bounce back after two tough defeats to the Netherlands and Belgium, the Black Sticks got themselves on the scoreboard early against the Olympic champion through a goal to Olivia Merry, breaking the  New Zealanders’ scoreless drought in the FIH Pro League.

Great Britain got itself on the scoreboard soon after through a penalty stroke converted by Giselle Ansley. The Black Sticks retook the lead in the 19th minute with an Ella Gunson drag flick.

With eight seconds to go in the half, the Black Sticks conceded a penalty corner off a crash ball into the circle. Its defence ran down the penalty corner and withstood the Great Britain attack to head to the sheds with a 2-1 lead.  Great Britain started the third quarter positively, but when Merry dispossessed one of the defenders and powered into the circle to rocket a shot past the keeper, the Black Sticks found themselves leading 3-1.

Late in the fourth quarter, Merry converted a penalty corner to score her third goal of the evening and put the home team in a commanding position with 10 minutes to go in the match. Great Britain had a penalty corner with two minutes to go, but keeper Grace O’Hanlon reacted spectacularly and stopped the deflection.

The Black Sticks then broke down the field and Amy Robinson slotted home the  fifth goal for the evening to seal an emphatic win.  It was not so rosey for the New Zealand men, who earlier crashed to a 6-2 loss to their British counterparts.

Great Britain was ahead by five goals before the Black Sticks tried to come back into the game.  It was not until late in the third quarter that the Black Sticks  scored, the first by Nic Woods in his 100th match as he drag-flicked the ball into the net. Hugo Inglis then scored his fourth goal for the tournament as he received a well-placed overhead in the circle and touched it over the keeper, giving the Black Sticks a shot at a comeback, but by then it was too little, too late. 

 

FIH Pro League
The scores
 

Women

Black Sticks     5

Olivia Merry 5’, 35’, 51’, Ella Gunson 19’, Amy Robinson 58’

Great Britain     1

Giselle Ansley 11’
 

Men

Great Britain     6

Sam Ward 18’, 33’, 46’, Phil Roper 27’, 40’, Adam Dixon 29’

Black Sticks     2

Nic Woods 43’ , Hugo Inglis 44’

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