Hockeyroos, the Australian women began the defence of their 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medal with a 4-0 victory over Malaysia on day one of Glasgow 2014. While India defeated Canada 4-2, England beat Wales 2-0 and South Africa scored 16 without any reply from Trinidad & Tobago in women’s competition at Glasgow National Hockey Centre.
Goals in each half from Alex Danson and Nicola White made the difference for England against a determined Wales outfit. England lost midfielder Georgie Twigg to injury inside the first minute before Danson’s 29th minute shot from the edge of the circle put them ahead. And White finally sealed the points seven minutes from time with a sliding finish from a penalty corner to give England victory ahead of Sunday’s second group game against Malaysia.
Australian team wore black armbands as a mark of respect for those that died in the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 last week.
Jodie Kenny’s pin-point penalty corner drag flick into the top corner in the seventh minute gave the World Cup silver medallists the perfect start. Kellie White doubled the advantage with a deft deflection midway through the half before Georgie Parker pulled off a textbook tomahawk to fire Australia 3-0 in front before the break, her shot finding the backboard low inside the bottom corner.
Malaysia, ranked 21 in the world, weathered a series of five Australian penalty corners in the second half but could do little about Parker’s reverse stick strike that flew into the roof of the net with just over 20 minutes to go.
Prior to Kenny’s opener, both Emily Smith and Brooke Peris had looked bright as they teased the Malaysian defence early on. Kenny was a heroine at both ends of the pitch in a matter of moments, first converting a penalty corner high into the goal before clearing off the line at Malaysia’s only penalty corner of the match.
It was a dominant Australian performance with Malaysian goalkeeper Farah Ayuni Yahya one of the stars of the show as she pulled off a string of saves to deny Anna Flanagan, White and Parker in the second period.
Afterwards, Australian captain Madonna Blyth, playing in her third Commonwealth Games, said, “It is always a bit hard for us when we have to play against somebody not quite in our league but I thought they played pretty bravely and their defence was pretty good. There were so many people on this plane, not only from Australia and Malaysia. This way we could show a sign of respect.”