It was double gold for Australia men and women at the 2015 Oceania Cup in Stratford, New Zealand.
In two tightly contested finals, New Zealand's Black Sticks pushed their higher ranked rivals every inch of the way, but the men were unable to recover from an early two-goal burst from the Kookaburras, while the women fell to their Trans-Tasman opponents in a shoot-out.
There was nothing to choose between the teams in the women’s final as Australia and New Zealand battled to a 1-1 draw at full-time. An early goal from Petrea Webster for New Zealand was cancelled out by Laura Barden in the 23rd minute.
Both teams played some scintillating hockey but when it comes to shoot-outs New Zealand do not have a good track record and so it was this time as Jodie Kenny and Mariah Williams were able to keep their cool and take the shoot-out 2-1.
The results mean that Australia continue to dominate this competition, with the women retaining the trophy they won in 2013.
New Zealand's Black Sticks dominated the goal-scoring table, with Kirsten Leigh-Pearce, Charlotte Harrison and Anita Punt scoring seven, five and five goals respectively.
After picking up the title, Australia's Hockeyroos Head Coach Adam Commens said: “It’s always a difficult match against New Zealand and we have brought a very young and inexperienced team here, so to get the result against them at their home ground is a wonderful achievement.
“We were confident with our shoot-out and penalty corners today. I thought New Zealand defended very well, however, ultimately we got the result and once again are Oceania Cup champions.”
Samoa women picked up the bronze medals as they were the only other team involved in the tournament following the withdrawal of Fiji women before the Oceania Cup began.
Women’s Final: New Zealand 1, Australia 1 (Australia win 1-2 at shoot-out)
Bronze Medal: Samoa
Photo: Courtesy of Planet Hockey Magazine
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