The Black Sticks finish 5th in Kuantan.
The Black Sticks finish 5th in Kuantan.
(Photo: FIH)

New Zealand walked away with a 6-3 win over France to finish fifth at the Pahang Hockey Champions Challenge 1 in Kuantan. While a fifth place is New Zealand’s worst result in Champions Challenge history, France have finished sixth in their first appearance in the Champions Challenge 1. 

The first quarter saw both teams struggling with the hot weather conditions. New Zealand missed a promising chance in the beginning but from that moment scoring opportunities were rare. 

Stephen Jenness (21’) put the Black Sticks ahead in the second quarter before Simon Child (27’) doubled the lead, scoring in his 200th  cap for New Zealand. This goal was Child’s seventh in this tournament making him top of the scorer list. Les Bleus struck back before half-time when Matthieu Durchon (31’) converted a penalty stroke. The match went into half-time with a score of 2-1 in favour of New Zealand. 

The Black Sticks were on fire in the third quarter lifting the score to 5-1 thanks to goals from Phil Burrows (35’), Alex Shaw (43’) and Jared Panchia (49’). Tom Genestet (58’) pulled a penalty corner goal back for Les Bleus shortening the score to 5-2.

With seven minutes remaining, team-captain Martin Genestet (63’) converted another penalty corner to make it 5-3. The third of the Genestet brothers, Hugo, was not involved in today’s affair as he has been suspended for today’s match after he picked up his third yellow card in yesterday’s encounter against Japan. Hugo Inglis (68’) scored the final goal of the match leaving the result 6-3 in favour of New Zealand.