A late penalty corner drag flick from Jodie Kenny claimed the Australia a 3-2 victory at the 2015 Hawke’s Bay Cup after being deadlocked with Trans-Tasman rivals the New Zealand Black Sticks in the final minutes of the final match on Sunday night.
Earlier China held on to win Bronze Medal, as they overcame Korea by 3-2. USA stunned their Pan-American rivals Argentina by 3-0 to take 5th place, while India scored twice in last 6 minutes to avoid last place, by defeating Japan 3-2 in 7th place play off.
Final Match: Australia 3 (Emily Smith 40, Brooke Peris 43, Jodie Kenny 60) beat New Zealand 2 (Gemma Flynn 1, Olivia Merry 44)
Bronze Medal Match: China 3 (Xiaxoue Zhang 10, Mengyu Wang 15, Qianqian Bao 37) beat Korea 2 (Darae Kim 17 & 51)
Speaking after the match Australia Head Coach Adam Commens said, “It wasn’t our prettiest performance tonight, however, ultimately it was a victory. I think tonight we learnt a lot about our team and where we need to be if we want to be consistently winning tournaments. A gold medal is what we came here for and we are satisfied with the final result tonight.”
There was no holding back for the Black Sticks during the start of the semi final, taking an early 1-0 lead after Kiwi Gemma Flynn found herself space running into their attacking circle, netting a quick on target goal one minute after the starting whistle.
After a steady second quarter, the Australia women opened the flood gates 10 minutes after the halftime break. Awarded a penalty corner at the 40th minute mark, Georgina Morgan’s drag flick was quickly deflected past Kiwi goalkeeper Amelia Gibson and into the net by Hockeyroos forward Emily Smith, equalising with the Black Sticks, 1-1.
Four minutes after Smith’s goal, Brooke Peris was able to break down the 1-1 deadlock after Smith fed a fast paced ball onto Peris’ stick, pushing them in front with the lead, 2-1.
Fighting back, the Black Sticks turned the score around within 60 seconds of Peris’ goal. Olivia Merry, showing her skill, worked the ball around Australia’s goalkeeper Ashlee Wells in the 44th minute and once again deadlocked the score with Australia, 2-2.
With robust defensive structures across both team’s, the Australia manage to successfully hold out the Black Sticks coming into the final 15 minutes of play.
Seconds remained on the clock and the match looked like it was heading towards a shootout scenario, however, the Hockeyroos still had more to give. Awarded a final chance to break the 2-2 tie with their opponents, the Australia received what would be a final opportunity at a penalty corner. Setting up a strong battery, world class drag flicker Jodie Kenny stepped forward, dragging the ball into the top of the net and securing the Australia a 3-2 victory and the 2015 Hawke’s Bay Cup title.
China stretched before securing podium spot at Hawke’s Bay Cup
The China women’s hockey team roared into an early lead in their playoff match with Korea at the Hawke’s Bay Cup, but had to work hard before securing 3rd place with a 3 – 2 win.
China came into the playoff match on the back of a 3 – 2 semifinal loss to Australia while Korea had been humiliated 4 nil by the Black Sticks.
The opening quarter belonged to China who were 2 nil up in the space of 15 minutes. Xiaoxue Zhang was first on the scoresheet when she scored from the field. Menyu Wang finished off a penalty corner shortly after, and China were looking comfortable..
However, Darae Kim scored 2 minutes later for Korea and they trailed 2 – 1. Both teams created chances before China was able to increase the buffer, when Qianqian Bao converted a regulation penalty corner.
Korea mounted a strong attack as the clock ran down and Darae Kim slotted her second of the match with 9 minutes remaining. China had some nervous moments before running out 3 – 2 winners and securing the third step on the podium.
China’s Yang Peng says they were pleased with how they had played the semifinal. She said “We need to do more work on our defence but it was pleasing to score 3 goals and place third at the tournament.”