Ireland finish second, Poland are third, Japan became fourth
New Zealand finished first of pool A after grabbing their third successive win at the Pahang Hockey Champions Challenge 1 in Kuantan. The Black Sticks were too strong for Poland defeating them 8-3. Earlier, Ireland’s Green Machine had taken their first victory in this tournament after winning 1-0 against Japan’s Samurais. Ireland, Poland and Japan finished on three points each. Because of goal difference Ireland become second, Poland third and Japan fourth.
Ireland v Japan 1-0 (0-0)
Alan Sothern struck late to secure Ireland’s first victory at the Pahang Hockey Champions Challenge 1 in Kuantan as the Green Machine defeated Japan’s Samurais 1-0 in pool A.
The match started slowly as both teams created very few chances in the first half. Japan’s most promising scoring opportunity came from a penalty corner which was parried well by the Irish goalkeeper, David Harte.
The second half showed more action as both teams tried to get on the scoreboard first. The Green Machine forced a penalty corner on 41 minutes but Japan’s goalkeeper Katsuya Takase was able to save Stephen Dowds’ attempt.
Urged on by their fans, Ireland were the better side, creating better chances and enjoying more ball possession. However, the Japanese defence stood firm. The Samurais were close to scoring when the umpires awarded a penalty stroke after Tomonori Ono (55’) was tackled in front of goal by an Irish defender.
Kei Kawakami took the stroke but the Green Machine’s keeper Harte was there to save the ball with his glove. The young Irish team remained the dominant side for the rest of the match, eventually scoring the winner thanks to Alan Sothern.
“We showed good improvement today” said Ireland coach Craig Fulton. “I hoped that we would score in the last quarter because my team worked so hard. Now we will wait and see who we will meet in the quarter finals.”
New Zealand v Poland 8-3 (4-0)
New Zealand finished first of pool A after grabbing their third successive win at the Pahang Hockey Champions Challenge 1 in Kuantan. The Black Sticks were too strong for Poland defeating them 8-3.
Simon Child (4’) opened the scoring by putting New Zealand’s first penalty corner in the back of the net. Andy Hayward (8’) doubled the lead a few minutes later when his penalty corner shot found its way into the bottom of the Polish goal. The Black Sticks kept on dominating the match. Stephen Jenness (31’) scored from open play extending the lead to 3-0 before Hayward (33’) added another penalty corner goal to lift the score to 4-0.
The second half saw Poland forcing two penalty corners which they dismissed. Then, Simon Child (45’) added his second goal with a beautiful reverse-stick shot. The 6-0 was provided by Blair Hilton (51’) before Simon Child (56’) contributed his third goal of the match to lift the score to 7-0.
Poland eventually got on the scoreboard thanks to Tomasz Gorny (57’). Hugo Inglis (63’) put his name on the score sheet to extend the lead to 8-1 before Poland struck back with two goals from Krystian Makowski (68’/70’).Back