The Junior Black Sticks Men beat Papua New Guinea 15-0 today, while the women lost 3-1 against Australia in the first games of their respective Junior World Cup Qualifiers in the Gold Coast.
Samoa and Papua New Guinea withdrew on the women’s side, allowing the Kiwi women automatic qualification along with Australia. Regardless, a tournament win for the Kiwis (men and women) will result in an easier pool at the Junior World Cup.
Junior Black Sticks Men’s coach Grant Edwards said although the men had a very convincing win, he thinks there is room for improvement.
“It was a big scoreline, but our execution and tackling skills were poor and we failed to hold the ball for long periods of time, there was a lot of turnover,” said Edwards.
“The accuracy of our passing, increasing our ball speed, and our defensive structures need to be improved if we are to stop the fast attack from the Australians,” said Edwards.
In the women’s game, Phillipa Symes scored a field goal making it 1-1 at half time before the Australians got the better of the second half winning 3-1.
Assuming the men qualify, both coaches will be using the National Under-21 Tournament as a final opportunity to select their team for the Junior World Cup.
The two women’s teams that qualify will face Argentina, Belgium, Canada, China, England, Spain, France, Germany, Ghana, India, Korea, Netherlands, South Africa and United States at the Junior World Cup likely to be held in Germany in July.
While the two men’s teams that qualify will face Argentina, Belgium, Canada, England, Spain, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Korea, Malaysia, Netherlands, Pakistan and South Africa at the Junior World Cup likely to be held in India in December.
Junior Black Sticks Men
New Zealand15 (Michael Ritchie x3, Robert Creffier, Benedict van Woerkom x2, Kane Russell x4, Zac Woods, Ben Radovonich x2, George Muir x2) Papua New Guinea 0. Half time 7-0.
Junior Black Sticks Women
Australia 3, New Zealand 1 (Phillipa Symes). Half time 1-1.
Match Schedule, Junior World Cup Qualifier (Gold Coast), NZ Time
7pm, Friday 1 March – Australia
3pm, Sunday 3 March – Play-offs
7pm, Thursday 28 Feb – Australia
3pm, Saturday 2 March – Vanuatu
From 1pm, Sunday 3 March – Play-offs
Hockey New Zealand