The Junior Black Sticks Men won 2-1 in extra time against Malaysia last night, finishing fifth at the Sultan of Johor Cup in Malaysia.
Nil-all at half-time, Jared Panchia (Auckland) equalised before Kane Russell (Southern) scored off New Zealand’s only penalty corner of the match in the 72nd minute. Malaysia were awarded nine penalty corners throughout the game, but only converted one.
“Good goalkeeping by Sam Greaney kept New Zealand in the game. Our passing improved throughout the game – we moved the ball effectively in the last quarter and were able to hold the ball under pressure,” says head coach Grant Edwards.
The game was interrupted with a rain break of 25 minutes with seven minutes to go in first half of the match.
“The tournament was a great opportunity for the players to experience international competition. All athletes will need to significantly improve their core skills of passing and receiving as we look towards the Junior World Cup in India,” says Edwards.
Final placings were as follows – Germany, India, Australia, Pakistan, New Zealand and Malaysia.
This Junior Black Sticks team is part of the Owen G Glenn Future Black Sticks programme which provides selection and development camps, coaching as well as international experience for national U-18 and U-21 players. There are 120 athletes that get the opportunity to be part of the Future Black Sticks programme each year.
With 14 players new to this team, the tournament was a chance to expose players to international competition before the Junior World Cup Qualifier (Oceania Junior Nations Cup) which is being held in the Gold Coast at the end of February 2013. Other teams competing in the qualifier are Australia, Papua New Guinea and Samoa. The top two teams from this qualifier will progress through to the 2013 Junior World Cup. The Junior World Cup will be held in India in December, with the International Hockey Federation still to confirm the exact dates and venue.