The second day of play here at the BDO Champions Challenge in Boom was marked by - apart from more rain - two surprise results as Belgium stunned Argentina and India fought down England. Before that, New Zealand had had no difficulty with Japan, taking an easy 4-0 win. Argentina, Belgium, India and Japan are all on three points after two rounds, while tournament favorites England a little unexpectedly find themselves trailing the field with no points from their first two encounters.
In the day's first encounter between New Zealand and Japan, the Blacksticks controlled the game during most of the match. After having needed more than 30 minutes to first get on the scoreboard, a late double hit gave the Kiwis a comfortable half time lead with Hayden Shaw making good use of a penalty corner and Ryan Archibald deflecting a hit into the circle past the Japanese goalkeeper.
Shortly after the break, Hayden Shaw took advantage of another penalty corner, and Philip Burrows added another to the tally when he took advantage of a brilliant lay-off from Ben Collier in the 49th minute. Japan had started quite well but faded as time went by and eventually had to concentrate their efforts on containing the damage.
The second encounter of home team Belgium followed, the hosts taking on Argentina who had looked the strongest team on day one. The South Americans could not live up to their first day performance however, struggling to get their act together and allowing the Belgians who played much better than on day one to take charge.
Gregory Gucasoff stepped up to present himself as the successor to Belgium's penalty corner legend Jean-Philippe Brule, sinking two cracking penalty corners in the first half to give the home team a two goal half time lead. Shortly after the break, Juan Gilardi seemed to have gotten Argentina back in the game with a short corner goal from an interesting variation with a lay-off from Jorge Lombi, but 19-year-old Thomas Briels scored the eventual match winner within 5 minutes. Argentina reduced their opponents' lead to one goal with a late Jorge Lombi penalty corner conversion, but could do no more.
The encounter between India and Argentina wrapped up the day, and the numerous fans sitting out in the rain in Boom were in for another surprise as the Indians who had looked shaky on the first day take the initiative against a confuse-looking English side. The two teams took turns in scoring, with India always stepping ahead and forcing England to keep up.
Rajpal Singh opened the scoring late in the first half only to find Richard Mantell slot in the equalizer in the dying minutes of the half. After the break, Dilip Tirkey restored the lead for his side but was met with a goal from Jonty Clarke to draw level again. Prabjhot Singh finally was the one to score the match winner for India, lobbing a brilliant pass over the English goalkeeper. India were clearly delighted to have won their first points, while the English seemed unable to comprehend quite what was going on, finding themselves trailing behind so far this early in the event.
After a rest day on Monday, action resumes on Tuesday with Japan taking on Argentina, England meeting New Zealand and Belgium and India concluding the day.
For more from the BDO Champions Challenge in Boom, visit the WorldHockey tournament site.
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