(Photo: © Wolfgang Sternberger)

Visit the FIH tournament website for the Rabo Hockey Champions Trophy

Winners from yesterday stumbled today at the women’s Rabo Hockey Champions Trophy in Amsterdam as the closeness of the competition creates a cramped points table after two days of matches.

No team has recorded two wins to start the tournament but home team Netherlands are closest to the mark, with a draw and a win from their opening two matches. The others are bunched close behind have all recorded a combination of wins, losses or draws to sit within striking distance of the world number one.

In the opening match of the day, China got the jump on Argentina and established a winning lead by the break, with a pair of field goals complemented by Ma Yi Bo’s penalty corner flick just before the end of the first half.

Argentina were uncharacteristically lethargic in the opening 35 minutes and lacked the spark that so often defines their play. China’s intensity was too much for Argentina early in the clash with the opening two goals coming from quickly taken free hits that caught the Argentineans on the back foot.

By the time Argentina gained a foothold in the match after half time it was too late, with their opponents in control of the scoreboard despite having to withstand a period of defensive pressure in the opening 15 minutes of the second term.

The match between the tournament hosts and Germany was the highlight of the day, especially in the first half when the large crowd was treated to an attacking, open spectacle.

Germany took an early advantage with a swift counter attack down the left before the Netherlands produced a quick reply and then jumped to the lead midway through the half after a weaving run from Naomi Van As set up Sylvia Karres from close range.

Although the match tempo slowed in the second half, the Dutch remained in control before Ellen Hoog put the result out of Germany’s reach with a reverse stick 15 minutes before full time to ensure her team leads the competition after two days.

Australia’s inability to convert a host of penalty corner chances was one of the main reasons why the world number three was unable to overcome New Zealand in the final match of day two.

The match was keenly fought and marred by turnovers as each team worked hard off the ball to limit the time, space and options for their opposition.

Australia had the better of the match and wasted numerous penalty corner chances throughout to record their second consecutive scoreless draw. However New Zealand were not without their chances and finished strongly only to squander opportunities late in the match which would have given them the upset.

Australia’s failure to find the scoresheet so far in the Champions Trophy, despite being unbeaten, has them sitting second last on the ladder.

In their favour is the closeness of the competition as highlighted in the results from the first two days, with each competitor still within striking distance of the top two places, and with it a place in next Sunday’s tournament decider.

Tomorrow (Monday) is a rest day with play resuming on Tuesday.