(Photo: © FIH / Ady Kerry)
The Black Sticks Women have been given a wake-up call after losing 3-0 in a practice game against The Netherlands in Amsterdam on Monday. Coach Mark Hager says it is a reminder to the team that when you are playing at the top level you have to play hard at all times otherwise goals slip through.
Due to it being a practice game rather than an official test match, players were rotated continuously throughout the game.
The Netherlands, ranked second in the world, showed urgency and had the ability to move the ball on quickly and create scoring opportunities. There was a lot of action in the opening spell, as the hosts scored a field goal in the third minute of the game and then three minutes later they were awarded a penalty corner which they drag flicked wide. In the 14th minute, goal keeper Sally Rutherford did a spectacular save diving across the goal and blocking the ball.
The score was 1-0 at half time. Goal keeper Amelia Gibson, who joined the team following Bianca Russell injuring her calf last week, played the second half of today’s game.
The Netherlands were awarded four penalty corners in the second half alone, but Gibson had an outstanding performance with numerous saves throughout the half which meant that none of these penalty corners were converted.
However, The Netherlands were quick throughout the midfield and continued to attack with two field goals being scored in the 46th and 58th minute.
Today’s game was played at the Wagener Stadium in Amsterdam, which is where the Champions Trophy will be played when it starts on the 26 June.
Co-captain Kayla Sharland played 10 minutes in both halves today and is recovering well from a minor hamstring injury. Goal keeper Bianca Russell did a full warm up without any problems and will be training tomorrow. Katie Glynn completed the warm up but did not play today.
The Black Sticks play their final practice game against Korea at 12.30am (NZ Time) on Thursday 23 June before the Champions Trophy begins on the 26 July.Hockey New Zealand Media release