The Vantage Black Sticks Women have rebounded spectacularly from their shock loss to Belgium a week ago to beat Great Britain. The Black Sticks showed an improved focus on both ends of the field as they took the result 5-1 to gain their first points of the FIH Pro League.
The Black Sticks took on the reigning Olympic Champions Great Britain in the second match of the evening at Nga Puna Wai Sports Hub. Looking to bounce back after two tough defeats to the Netherlands and Belgium the Black Sticks got themselves on the scoreboard early through a goal to Olivia Merry breaking the Black Sticks scoreless drought in the FIH Pro League. Great Britain got themselves on the scoreboard soon after when the Black Sticks were ruled to have stopped the ball with their body on the goal line resulting in a penalty stroke which was converted by Giselle Ansley. There was no further change to the score as the 1stquarter finished with us tied at 1-1.
The second quarter was an exciting one which saw the Vantage Black Sticks retake the lead in the 19thminute with an Ella Gunson drag flick. The Black Sticks were looking to move the ball around quickly and expose the Great Britain defence. With 8 seconds to go in the half the Black Sticks conceded a penalty corner off a crash ball into the circle. The Black Sticks defence ran down the penalty corner and withstood the Great Britain attack to head to the sheds with a 2-1 lead.
The Great Britain side started the 3rdquarter positively and challenged the Black Sticks keeper Grace O’Hanlon was up to the task to keep the Black Sticks lead intact. Olivia Merry then disposed one of the Great Britain defenders of the ball and powered into the circle to rocket a shot past the keeper and increase the Black Sticks lead 3-1. Kirsten Pearce late in the 3rdquarter received a great through ball from Kelsey Smith and had a shot however the shot went just wide of the goal and the score remained the same as we went into the 4thquarter.
Late in the 4thquarter Olivia Merry converted a penalty corner to score her 3rdgoal of the evening and put the Black Sticks in a commanding position with 10 minutes to go in the match. Great Britain had a penalty corner with 2 minutes to go however Grace O’Hanlon reacted spectacularly and stopped the deflection. The Black Sticks then broke down the field and Amy Robinson slotted home the Black Sticks 5thgoal for the evening to seal an emphatic win.
Vantage Black Sticks Women 5 (Olivia Merry 5’, 35’, 51’, Ella Gunson 19’ Amy Robinson 58’)
Great Britain Women 1 (Giselle Ansley 11’)