The women’s team of New Zealand surprisingly won the Oceania Cup by defeating favorite Australia after penalty strokes. The Australian men defeated rival New Zealand to take home the Oceania Cup (3-1).
With the victory, the New Zealand women’s squad is directly qualified for the BDO FIH World Cup 2010 in Rosario, Argentina. The Kookaburras are sure of playing in the Hero Honda FIH World Cup in New Delhi, India.
Women: New Zealand-Australia 2:2 (0:1) New Zealand wins after penalty strokes
Goal scorers – Australia - Casey Eastham, Megan Rivers. New Zealand – Clarissa Eshuis, Kayla Sharland
The Women’s Oceania Cup final went down to the wire and beyond, with the Black Sticks prevailing on strokes to win direct entry to next year’s World Cup in Argentina.
In was heartbreak for the fifth ranked Australians in Invercargill, who now head for one of three qualifying tournaments for their second chance of making the World Cup.
Kate Mahon nailed the stroke decider after Casey Eastham missed her second stroke of the sudden death competition.
The Black Sticks started far more confidently than in their round robin match up against the Hockeyroos playing with improved precision and power.
However there was an air of inevitability that the Australians would be first on the scoreboard, after forcing corner after corner.
The New Zealand defense, in particular keeper Beth Jurgeleit held solid until the eighth penalty corner which was pushed home by Casey Eastham from a direct strike rebound.
Eight minutes into the second half Australia went 2 – 0 up with a well taken field goal finished by Megan Rivers at close range from a reverse pass from the top.
New Zealand made the most of their few scoring opportunities when Clarissa Eshuis converted a drag flick penalty corner a minute later, from just their second corner awarded.
The goal lifted the Black Sticks and when Kayla Sharland converted a stroke with 13 to go after Anna Thorpe clashed with Australian keeper Toni Cronk, the intensity lifted once again with the score tied at 2 – 2..
New Zealand had a great opportunity to go into the lead when the strikers worked well to find Charlotte Harrison free on the right of the circle, but her shot unfortunately fired to the left of the left post. A miss trap on the side’s third penalty corner thwarted another opportunity with five minutes to play. All the pressure remained on the Australians.
With a minute to go Cronk saved another Eshuis drag flick solidly.
Australia lost Alison Bruce going into extra time for a bad tackle on Krystal Forgesson and went into golden goal extra time with only 10 players.
Australia dominated the opening minutes of extra time with two early penalty corners. In the second spell the Black Sticks continued with their gutsy defense, keeping out the third corner of extra time, with four minutes to play.
Kate Mahon was the hero of the stroke off, nailing the clincher as well as her first attempt.
Men: Australia-New Zealand 3:1 (2:1)
Goal scorers New Zealand – Nick Wilson Australia - Grant Schubert 2, Jamie Dwyer.
The Kookaburras have booked their spot at the Hero Honda FIH 2010 World Cup by defeating New Zealand 3-1 today at Invercargill, New Zealand to win the Oceania Cup.
After watching the Hockeyroos go down to New Zealand earlier in the day for the women’s division of the Oceania Cup, the Kookaburras were determined to begin the match well.
New Zealand had plans of their own, with Nick Wilson scoring the first goal of the match after a nice breakaway.
Veteran Olympic gold medalists Grant Schubert provided the spark needed for the Kookaburras, scoring two first half goals, the second coming just moments before half time.
Continuing their momentum, the Kookaburras controlled the tempo after half time, but were unable to make the most of their various opportunities and further extend their one goal lead.
With this New Zealand continued to grow in confidence as they remained within striking distance.
A sustained period of New Zealand possession followed but the Black Sticks were unable to peg back the much needed goal.
With just over a minute to play New Zealand forced their first penalty corner of the match but Hayden Shaw’s drag flick attempt was wide of the left post.
Jamie Dwyer hammered the final nail into New Zealand’s coffin in the final play of the match, a cracking shot from a penalty corner.
The Kookaburras will now plan their program towards the Hero Honda FIH World Cup which will be played in New Delhi, India from 28 February-13 March 2010.
However their focus for the remainder of the year will be towards the ABN AMRO Hockey Champions Trophy which will be played in Melbourne from 28 November-6 December 2009.
Source: Hockey New Zealand / Hockey Australia
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