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Black Sticks Men go down to Great Britain
The Vantage Black Sticks Men have gone down 6-2 to a determined Great Britain side. Great Britain put themselves up 5-0 before the Black Sticks tried to come back into the game. Unfortunately the mountain proved to great and the Great Britain team came away with the points.
The first international hockey match played at the new Nga Puna Wai sports hub was played on a beautiful Christchurch evening which saw the Vantage Black Sticks Men take on the team from Great Britain.
The Game started evenly with both sides looking to construct some offense. The Black Sticks were playing with an aggressive press looking to put the Great Britain Men under pressure and forcing some turnovers deep in their own half. The Black Sticks had some great early chances, but Great Britain goalkeeper George Pinner managed to scramble across the goal and keep the Black Sticks strikers in check. After the 1stquarter we were still tied at 0-0 but both sides were looking threatening.
Great Britain started the 2ndquarter aggressively earning the first penalty corner of the match. Richard Joyce saved the 1stshot however it came up off his kicker giving Great Britain a second chance at the penalty corner. The resulting penalty corner ended up going in off Richard Joyce’s pad putting Great Britain in the lead 1-0. Late in the 2ndquarter Great Britain earned another penalty corner after the Black Sticks couldn’t secure the ball in the circle. The Great Britain team then used a variation behind the back of the flicker and was put in the goal by Phil Roper. Great Britain then scored their third through captain Adam Dixon on another penalty corner. Great Britain would head to the sheds at half time full of confidence and looking to close out the victory.
Great Britain continued to apply the pressure at the start of the 3rdquarter and earned themselves another penalty corner on a crash ball into the Black Sticks circle. Richard Joyce saved the drag flick and we remained 3-0 in favour of the Great Britain team. As the quarter wore on the Great Britain side capitalised when the Black Sticks couldn’t clear the ball and Sam Ward scored his second goal of the evening and put the Great Britain team in a commanding position. Phil Roper then scored his second goal of the evening off a high deflection into the goal. Late in the 3rdquarter the Black Sticks got themselves back into the game with 2 goals the 1stby Nic Woods in his 100thmatch as he drag flicked the ball into the net. Hugo Inglis then scored his 4thgoal 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.
In the 4thquarter the Black Sticks playing with no keeper Sam Ward completed his hattrick and further extended the Great Britain lead scoring their 6thgoal of the evening. With 12 minutes to go Great Britain conceded a penalty corner however the Great Britain 1strunner was able to force Kane Russell’s drag flick wide of the goal.
Great Britain 6 (Sam Ward 18’, 33’, 46’, Phil Roper 27’, 40’, Adam Dixon 29’)
Vantage Black Sticks 2 (Nic Woods 43’ , Hugo Inglis 44’)
What is the FIH Pro League?
The FIH Pro League – Presented by Sentinel Homes will see home and away games between the world’s top 9 Men’s and Women’s hockey nations played between January and June, starting in 2019, culminating in a winner takes all Grand Final. More details athttp://blacksticks.co.nz/2019FIHProLeague