Owen G Glenn FIH Champions Trophy: Bronze Medal Match
The Netherlands have won the Bronze medal at the Owen G Glenn FIH Champions Trophy after defeating New Zealand 5-3 in an epic clash watched by nearly 4000 people. A remarkable encounter ebbed and flowed before the Dutchmen finally broke free of their resilient opponents with goals in the 67th and 69th minutes from Bob de Voogd and Billy Bakker respectively.
It was a special day for Netherlands legend Teun de Nooijer, who netted a goal in a win that made him the all time record holder in terms of Champions Trophy medals. The 35-year-old playmaker now has 13 CT medals in his collection, moving him ahead of former team-mate Jeroen Delmee. The result also ensured that the Netherlands moved into the record books, as they have now won more bronze medals than any other team in Champions Trophy history with seven.
Although it was a disappointing day for New Zealand, they can also be proud of their achievements here in Auckland. The Black Sticks equaled their best ever Champions Trophy finish of fourth place. However, their fourth place finish in 1978 was on a competition containing just five teams, compared with the eight that have been in action at the Owen G Glenn Champions Trophy.
The Netherlands were on top for the opening ten minutes of the game and deservedly took the lead when Jeroen Hertzberger’s shot proved too hot to handle for outstanding New Zealand keeper Kyle Pontifex. However, the Black Sticks soon found their feet and pulled themselves level through Nick Wilson’s smart near post deflection.
Teun de Nooijer notched his 43rd Champions Trophy goal in the 28th minute and it seemed that The Netherlands would hang on to their lead at least until half time, but Simon Child squared things up two minutes before the break when he fired under the crossbar.
A frenetic and physical second half saw a number of players sent to the sin-bin before Mink van der Weerden rattled in a penalty corner drag flick into the New Zealand goal in the 57th minute. Incredibly, New Zealand levelled the scores again five minutes from the end of the game thanks to a penalty corner volley from Stephen Jenness.
Just when it seemed as if the match was going to extra time, The Netherlands hit a fourth goal when Teun de Nooijer sent a beautiful pass through to Bob de Voogd who touched the ball into the goal from close range.
Knowing that they had nothing to lose, New Zealand brought on a kicking back in place of their goal keeper, a tactic which worked like a charm in the meeting between the two teams on Tuesday. Sadly, The Netherlands took full advantage of the keeper-less goal and killed off the game when Billy Bakker scored his fifth goal of the tournament.
“New Zealand have hosted a fantastic Champions Trophy, it seemed like we were playing against 12 with the crowd,” said Netherlands coach Paul van Ass shortly after the game. “We were obviously very disappointed to miss the final… we felt that we had lost the gold but now we will go away with winning bronze, which is a much better feeling.”
New Zealand captain Dean Couzins was saddened by the defeat but was also proud of his team and the wonderful support received from the Black Sticks fans who had cheered them on throughout the tournament. “The crowd were fantastic today”, said Couzins. “Truly it will be a memory that will live with all of us for a very long time.”Back