Less than favourable conditions welcomed the teams on Day Four of the BDO World Cup Qualifier in Invercargill. Crucial matches today which could determine the final placing in the Round Robin; first up Malaysia and Scotland battled it out in a tight tussle. Austria will come up against Wales in a game where the Welsh would want to get off the bottom on the table; and finally, hosts clash against China to potentially determine the top placing in the Round Robin phase of the tournament.
Match Ten – Malaysia v Scotland: 3:2
Once again Malaysia has had the better start in all of their games to date in this tournament, (with their game against New Zealand an exclusion); and that was the case again today. Malaysia opened the scoring early in the 7th minute to Faizal SAARI by means of a field goal. Scotland began a fight-back and had several chances but failed to convert in the difficult conditions.
Malaysia extended the lead with a 27th minute field goal when they were gifted an opportunity from a Scottish mistake; again to SAARI who is proving to be a regular scorer for his team. With time almost up in the first spell a desperate effort to stop the attack by a Scottish led to a penalty stroke. Muhammad RAHIM stepped up to take the stroke which was securely converted.
Thus was the end of the first half, Malaysia going to the break with their biggest halftime lead in this tournament.
The crowd was on edge when the second half began as in their two other games, they have faded late in the half and given their opponents the chance to come back. So we were less than surprised when Scotland opened the scoring in the 37th minute to Kenneth BAIN with a great field goal.
Immediately the game had changed and it was Scotland with their heads up. It was great to watch and already there was a sense of déjà vu as the Malaysians began finger-pointing and failing to play as a team.
Scotland still pressuring the Malaysians and the Scottish were rewarded with a 49th minute field goal to Stephen DICK.
Malaysia had done it again and let their opponents back in the game.
Desperation from both teams in the final minutes exhibited fast hockey but neither team could add to the score. What might have been for Scotland, had they not conceded the penalty stroke right on the brink of halftime and this would be a luck escape for Malaysia, who could still make a late challenge for a top two placing should New Zealand beat China in the final game of the day.
Match Eleven – Austria v Wales: 2:0
In the battle between the bottom placed teams in this tournament, Austria (ranked nine places higher than their opponents) had little trouble despatching Wales. It did take a while however for the first goal to be scored as both teams were testing each other out in the opening stages.
Austria’s Michael KORPER opened the scoring, netting a well constructed penalty corner in the 18th minute, finally getting the advantage which they had created through gradual dominance in the midfield.
There was no further addition to the score, Austria going to the break with a narrow lead.
Austria once again scored midway through the second half, a field goal, this time to Benjamin STANZL (his first of the tournament), in the 50th minute.
It was a hard fought win from Austria, thus being their first of the tournament.
Match Twelve – China v New Zealand: 1:6
In the final match of the day the two titans in this tournament battle it out to possibly determine the top placed team for the Final. The loser could face a late and strong challenge from Malaysia after their win earlier today.
Both teams looked their sharpest so far in this Tournament.
It was New Zealand however, who opened the scoring in the 9th minute by a rocket of a drag flick at a penalty corner by Andy HAYWARD, much to the delight of the home crowd.
That effort was matched just moments later in the 14th minute in the same fashion; again HAYWARD stepping up and firing the ball high into the Chinese goal, extending the New Zealand to two goals.
New Zealand capped off a solid first half performance with 6 minutes remaining, Phil BURROWS netting a solid field goal, taking his team further ahead and making the comeback that much harder for China.
Teams came out after the break and resumed the battle and the conditions. China came with more intensity but that was also matched by the New Zealand team.
However as all good teams should, New Zealand continued to apply the pressure, China have no answer.
Still very much a youngster, but with 106 caps in experience, New Zealand’s Simon CHILD netted twice in quick succession (46 and 52 minutes) to really finish off the Chinese challenge who by now were resigned to the loss.
With a further goal to Hayden SHAW in the 56th minute by a traditional drag flick, sealed a fine effort by the host nation.
The only blemish was a late consolation goal to China in the 69th minute when Yang DONG converted a penalty corner.
With the rest day yet upon us, we look forward to the final days play in the Round Robin in this Tournament. The only place that is secure in the top two placings, is New Zealand. The most interesting match up when games resume is the Malaysia-China game. A draw is good enough for China to advance to the Final against New Zealand. A win for Malaysia however, would see them leapfrog ahead of China on the points table, therefore stealing the second place in the Round Robin.
New Zealand would be expected to beat Austria, but Austria will gain invaluable experience against the class of their opponents.
In the battle for the bottom of the table clash, Scotland and Wales will play in the UK derby but neither team will hold back.
Join us again after the rest day and find out the final placings in this Tournament for the opportunity to qualify for the Hero Honda World Cup!
BDO World Cup Qualifier, Men – Invercargill, New Zealand
Results Day 4: Thursday 12 November 2009
Malaysia v Scotland 3:2 (3:0)
MAS 7mn Faizal SAARI (FG) 1:0
MAS 27mn Faizal SAARI (FG) 2:0
MAS 35mn Mohammad RAHIM (PS) 3:0
SCO 37mn Kenneth BAIN (FG) 3:1
SCO 49mn Stephen DICK (FG) 3:2
Austria v Wales 2:0 (1:0)
AUT 18mn Michael KORPER (PC) 1:0
AUT 50mn Benjamin STANZL (FG) 2:0
China v New Zealand 1:6 (0:3)
NZL 9mn Andy HAYWARD (PC) 0:1
NZL 14mn Andy HAYWARD (PC) 0:2
NZL 29mn Phil BURROWS (FG) 0:3
NZL 46mn Simon CHILD (FG) 0:4
NZL 52mn Simon CHILD (FG) 0:5
NZL 56mn Hayden SHAW (PC) 0:6
CHN 69mn Yang DONG (PC) 1:6
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