Lausanne, Switzerland, June 26 (Ajit Weekly News) The Netherlands men kept their FIH Hockey Pro League hopes well and truly alive by downing the gutsy New Zealand side 3-2 in a nail-biting encounter that kept the Amsterdam crowd on the edge of their seats.
Later in the day, the Black Sticks women played catch-up from the start against Germany. Die Danas wrapped up a 3-1 victory to climb above Great Britain on the tournament standings into fifth place with four more matches to play.
(Men’s) Netherlands vs New Zealand 3-2
Just like they did against world champions Germany, the Black Sticks took a surprise lead when they were awarded the first penalty corner of the match. Kane Russell stepped up and dragged it into the left of goal to edge his side ahead. Russell then made it two off another penalty corner. This time his drag struck keeper Mauritz Visser on the leg, but it was not enough to stop it from finding the back of the net.
The Netherlands pulled one back in the third quarter when Justen Blok’s acute shot from just inside the circle wasn’t dealt with by the New Zealand defence and it bobbled into goal. With just over two and a half minutes left in the match, the Netherlands earned a penalty corner. Jasper Brinkman’s shot deflected off the first runner and into goal to level matters and make for a thrilling finish.
It was then Blok who secured the last-gasp victory, blasting in the winner with four seconds remaining on the clock.
Koen Bijen was named Player of the Match and said: “Unbelievable! We fought hard for it. I think we did quite good things today and New Zealand were really efficient with their circle entries and they scored a lot of goals out of it, but I’m really happy that we won in the end. I think we really deserved it and we’re still in the race to win the Pro League so I’m really happy.”
(Women’s) Germany vs New Zealand 3-1
New Zealand failed to clear the ball after an early German attack. Hanna Granitzki intercepted the ball and passed it to Nike Lorenz who then floated it back to her to score Germany’s opener less than two minutes into the match.
The Black Sticks produced a stronger second half. They found the equaliser in the third quarter when Olivia Merry and Tyler Lench combined to deliver the ball for Hannah Cotter to tap it in from right in front goal. But the Germans made sure they regained the lead before the final break, Sonja Zimmermann dragging a fairly tame one in off a penalty corner.
Die Danas then scored their third in the final period when Lena Micheel worked the ball into the top of the D and bulleted it in past the unsighted Kiwi keeper, Grace O’Hanlon to seal the 3-1 win.
Kira Horn was named Player of the Match and said: “It definitely wasn’t easy, but we tried to improve a lot of things because we were super disappointed after the 5-0 on Friday [against the Netherlands]. I think we did way better today. We fought more as a team so we’re quite happy about the win.”
News Credits – I A N S