Sports

ENGLAND SCORE CRUCIAL WIN OVER INDIAN HOCKEY WOMEN

August 03, 2022 08:12 AM

BIRMINGHAM: The Hockeyroos got day 5 of the games underway, edging out New Zealand in a crunch Pool B tie in the Commonwealth Games. This was followed by a convincing Canadian victory over a spirited Ghana. England’s women got the afternoon session underway with an important win over India, while South Africa had 3 separate hat-trick scorers in a substantial win over Kenya, reports FIH.

India 1 England 3 (Pool A women)

England produced a professional performance to beat a strong India side and head to the top of Pool A.

The hosts got off to a flying start as Giselle Ansley fired in from a penalty corner just 3 minutes into the contest. A strong opening quarter saw a few more chances fall England’s way but a stubborn Indian defence was not breached as the hosts ended the first period with a slender lead.

The second period saw India try and get a foothold back into the match. Lalremsiami, Neha and Kaur Navneet among the Indian players to carve out opportunities. However, the English women stood strong and put up a steely defence. The players headed off for half-time with the score remaining at 1-0 to England.

A refreshed England looked to get back to how they performed in the opening quarter, and soon doubled their advantage, as Tess Howard deflected a Sophie Hamilton cross home. It was not plain-sailing for England who weathered an Indian storm to hold on to their 2-0 advantage heading into the final 15.

India began the final period searching for a goal to halve the deficit, putting more pressure on a surely tiring England defence. They could not find a way through though as keeper Madeleine Hinch and co were not to be beaten. A crucial third goal was found following a well-worked penalty corner, Hannah Martin with the final touch. Vandana Katariya did grab a consolation for India inside the last minute. England's 3-1 win sending them top of Pool A with just one game to go.

Madeleine Hinch (ENG): "I’m just delighted we got the points. It’s the first time in the history of us at the Commonwealths winning our opening three matches, so that’s massive for this group to be writing its own history a little bit.

"It’s exciting. We’ve just got to keep this momentum going now. India are a cracking side, you can see how good they are individually, and we rode the waves and scored some really nice goals as well."

New Zealand 0 Australia 1 (Pool B women)

Australia edged a tight affair with New Zealand to make it 3 wins from 3 and assert themselves at the top of Pool B.

The Hockeyroos made a quick start to the game, and were awarded a penalty flick in the 8th minute following an infringement in the circle from a penalty corner. Kaitlin Nobbs stepped up to take and duly converted for her 5th goal of the tournament. A cagey first quarter ended with just the one score.

The second period saw New Zealand turn up the pressure on the Hockeyroos goal, Olivia Shannon and Claire Colwill both being forced to get involved to deny the Black Sticks an equaliser. Tessa Jopp and Olivia Merry the New Zealand pair denied. Despite their efforts the first half ended with Australia leading 1-0.

The third quarter saw momentum swing back in the Hockeyroos favour, Renee Taylor sending two efforts wide following a couple of penalty corners. Australia went close again on the stroke of the end of the third quarter, Shanea Tonkin finding the post. The teams headed off for their final break with the game still finely balanced.

The Hockeyroos were not helped by an early yellow card in the opening minute, shown to Jane Claxton. However, the Australians took the attack to the Black Sticks, spurning multiple chances as they searched for a killer second goal. Although they didn’t find the score the match came to an end as Australia grabbed a huge three points.

Jane Claxton (AUS): “Ask any elite athlete, there’s no perfect way of playing sport, but it’s as good as we want it to be currently.

"Tomorrow (Wednesday) is still crucial to top our pool, which is what our first goal was coming here, getting ourselves in a good position for the crossover games.”

Ghana 1 Canada 8 (Pool A women)

It was all Canada in the opening quarter of this Pool A match between the Canadian Wolf Pack (World ranking: 15) and Ghana (WR:31). Two minutes in and Brienne Stairs saw her opening shot fly wide of the post but Ghana had been warned that Canada were out to get maximum points today.

The shots continued to come as Chloe Walton, Jordyn Faiczak and Stairs continued to pepper the Ghana goal. However, in these earliest exchanges Abigail Boye was in good form, getting her body between anything the Canadians threw her way and the back of the net.

It was Walton who got the breakthrough. Her shot in the seventh minute evading the outstretched leg of Boye to give Canada the lead. It remained one-way traffic for the quarter and Canada’s pressure was rewarded in the 13th minute when Grace Delmotte followed up on a rebound from her own shot to double the lead.

Madison Thompson made it 3-0 with one minute of the first quarter left and the Canadian team went into the break with a solid first 15 minutes under their belts.

Fourth and fifth goals flew in from the stick of Sara McManus as she made the next two penalty corner awards count.

Ghana finally managed to get into their own attacking groove and receive the pressure on their defence with a quick counter-attack. Nafisatu Umaru was disappointed to see her penalty corner strike well saved by Marcia La Plante in the Canada goal.

As the game moved towards the half-time break Karli Johansen found herself in the thick of the goalmouth action. Three penalty corners from the tall athlete were saved and she was unable to send the subsequent rebounds home much to her own frustration.

The third quarter started with a change in goal for Ghana as Bridget Azumah replaced Boye. Ghana won their second penalty corner of the game and, although Mavis Berko’s shot evaded the keeper, it was saved off the line by the Canadian post player. Despite a lot of Canada pressure, the score in the third quarter remained at 5-0, and Head Coach Ali Garzanfar would have been pleased with his team’s defensive discipline.

That all changed in the fourth quarter as Canada ramped up the pace and ferocity of their play. Brienne Stairs continued to plague the defence but it was Delmotte who struck next, tipping the ball past Azumah. One minute later, Stairs was finally rewarded for her efforts with a well-taken goal to make it 7-0.

The final 10 minutes of play saw both sides scrambling to add to the scoreline. The Ghana team has won fans for the players’ determination to fight to the end of each match and so it was that the crowd rose to their feet when Mavis Berko finally got her team on the score sheet with a well-taken penalty corner. This was Ghana women’s first goal of Commonwealth Games Birmingham 2022 and was rightly celebrated.

Canada added one more to the scoreline to make it 8-1 when Madeline Secco scored from a penalty corner after a good team referral had turned a decision Canada’s way.

The result means that Canada are now in second position in Pool A behind England, albeit having played one more game. Ghana are bottom of the pool but will be delighted to see a goal in the ‘For’ column.

Amanda Woodcroft (CAN): “Ghana are a good side. It’s tricky sometimes as they sit so deep and we don’t have much space in the circle [but we] stuck to our game plan.” 

Kenya 0 South Africa 15 (Pool B women)

South Africa picked up their first win in style as they put 15 past Kenya.

Jean-Leigh Du Toit got the procession of goals underway, opening the scoring from a penalty corner. A series of chances followed before Tarryn Lombard doubled the lead from another penalty corner. With 4 minutes left of the opening quarter Lilian Du Plessis and Erin Christie both struck, putting South Africa up 4-0 after a clinical first period.

Kenya did put up a decent defence in the second quarter, thwarting a series of chances from a goal-hungry South African side. Not to be denied, Du Toit found her second of the game with 4 minutes left of the quarter from a penalty corner. Lombard got back in on the action a minute later, extending the South African lead to 6-0 at half-time.

The scoreboard soon ticked over to 7 for South Africa, as 4 minutes into the third quarter Kristen Paton found the back of the goal. Du Plessis added an 8th and it soon became 9 as Du Toit completed her hat-trick.

Not satisfied with just 3 goals Du Toit was at it again, grabbing her 4th, and South Africa’s 10th of the match inside a minute of the final period. Du Plessis completed her hat-trick with 9 minutes left on the clock, scoring her 4th a few minutes later. With 3 minutes left in the game Lombard became the 3rd South African to complete a hat-trick, while Du Toit and Bernadette Coston scored the last 2 goals of the afternoon to complete a huge 15-0 win.

Erin Christie (RSA): "We had a goal today. We've been disappointed with our performances in the last four games, so we wanted to come out here and make a stance and show that we're good enough to be here.

“Part of that was doing what other teams in the pool have done - and that's scoring a lot of goals."

Day 6 preview:

Wednesday gets underway with women’s action at 9:00, as Australia look to make it 4 wins from 4 in the Pool stage, against a Scotland side looking to break into the top 2 spots in Pool B. There’s mouth-watering Pool A action at 11:00, as Canada take on India in a winner-takes-all shootout for a place in the semi-finals.

The men’s competition takes centre stage in the afternoon and evening session, starting at 14:00, when Canada take on India as the North Americans look to peg back their opponents and start to climb to the top 2 in Pool B. At 16:00, Wales take on Ghana in a game that the Welsh will target all three points to potentially move up into second in Pool B.

The evening is kicked off at 19:00 with Pakistan vs Scotland in a basement battle in Pool A. The final game of the day at 21:00 pits South Africa against Australia in the same Pool, in a battle of the top 2.

 
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