Vantage Black Sticks Draw with World Champions
The Vantage Black Sticks Men and Belgium have drawn 4-4 in a highly entertaining match which saw Belgium hold a 4-2 lead only for the Vantage Black Sticks to tie the game with 8 minutes to go. Unfortunately, the Black Sticks went down 4-2 in the penalty shootout.
The Vantage Black Sticks Men played the Belgium Men in the second match of the day as they looked to upset the World Champions.
The start of the match was played at a slower speed as both sides looked to size up the opposition and look for where they are going to be able to exploit the opposition. Belgium earned the first penalty corner of the match when the Black Sticks were deemed to have deliberately hit the ball over baseline. Belgium then ramped up their attack and pushed hard against the Black Sticks men who were looking to weather the attack and get themselves back into the match. Despite the weight of possession in Belgium’s favour the Black Sticks held on and defended resolutely to keep the match tied after one quarter.
Belgium continued to apply the pressure in the second quarter however the Vantage Black Sticks found an open Stephen Jenness at the top of the circle, his shot was stopped by a Belgium foot earning the Vantage Black Sticks a stroke. Hugo Inglis then stepped up to the mark and converted to put the Black Sticks in the lead 1-0. Belgium then hit back when they drove along the baseline and put a square ball across the circle that Cedric Charlier deflected home to tie the match 1-1. Belgium hit the lead when they stopped the Black Sticks from clearing the ball out of the circle and Maxime Plennevaux flicked it past the goalkeeper. The Vantage Black Sticks looked to hit straight back when they earnt a penalty corner. The Belgium’s kept it out and the lead at 2-1 and that was how the sides went into the half time break. The Vantage Black Sticks tied the match at 2 after Aidan Sarikaya found himself unmarked in the circle and reversed it into the top of the net. Belgium then hit back almost instantly when Arthur Van Doren deflected home the cross ball in the circle. Belgium then increased their lead to 4-2 when Cedric Charlier reversed home and Belgium looked to be heading for the win. The Vantage Black Sticks then came storming back through goals to Nic Woods and Stephen Jenness which sent the match into a penalty shootout to decide the winner.
Vantage Black Sticks 1 (Hugo Inglis 17’, Aidan Sarikaya 35’, Nic Woods 51’, Stephen Jenness 52’)
Belgium 1 (Cedric Charlier 19’, 46’, Maxime Plennevaux 27’, Arthur Van Doren 37’)
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 at http://blacksticks.co.nz/2019FIHProLeague