Experience tells as Blacks Sticks defeat India

SAM WORTHINGTON
Last updated 20:45 14/12/2012
Katie Glynn
KEVIN STENT/FAIRFAX NZ
EXPERIENCED HEAD: Katie Glynn in action against India in Wellington.

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There are eight rookies in this Black Sticks side but it was one of the "old" hands who provided the star turn against India in Wellington.

Prolific striker Katie Glynn scored two well taken goals in the first half as New Zealand reasserted their authority with a comfortable 4-1 win in game five of the six test series at the National Hockey Stadium.

The Black Sticks now lead the series 4-0, with the sixth and final test tomorrow night at 6pm in Wellington.

At 23, and nearing 100 caps, Aucklander Glynn is one of the most experienced players in this new-look squad, and she wasted no time stamping her mark on the match.

She opened the scoring in just the second minute with a typically clinical finish after good build-up work from Charlotte Harrison and Aniwaka Roberts - the younger sister of former Black Sticks star Niniwa - who was playing her first test on home turf.

Senior midfielder Stacey Michelsen had talked about eradicating the team's penchant for slow starts and making amends for the disappointing draw in Palmerston North.

Under no-nonsense Australian coach Mark Hager, this team is ranked an all-time high No 3 in the world, and are setting tough standards despite the absence of several key players.

Hager would have been happy with the high-tempo start in front of a healthy crowd and Glynn struck again from a penalty corner in the 18th minute.

But mistakes started to creep in from both young sides who are starting to feel the effects of a long series.

Anita Punt - another hometown player - went close with a penalty corner but was denied by a fabulous save from Etimarpu Rajani.

Indian keeper Rajani then denied newbie Olivia Merry from close range which seemed to spark opposite Georgia Barnett into some heroics of her own.

Barnett, an 18-year-old from Central, is getting her first taste of international hockey after replacing 31-year-old Sally Rutherford midway through the series.

New Zealand has been blessed with some quality keepers in recent times and Barnett looks like a strong option as Hager builds towards the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

She rushed off her line to stop a one-on-one Indian raid and defused several penalty corners before making way for Amelia Gibson in the second half.

Another rookie, Canterbury defender Jenny Storey, also made some crucial tackles as the Black Sticks gave too much easy possession away to the tourists in the second half.

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Punt grabbed New Zealand's third from a penalty corner to put the result beyond doubt, although 16-year-old Indian Jaspreet Kaur did reply with a PC strike of her own.

Michaela Curtis then completed the scoring, picking up the scraps from Glynn's powerful saved shot.

Pippa Hayward had an unhappy night, falling foul of the officials to pick up two green cards.

India, ranked 12 in the world, displayed plenty of skill but not the same structure as the hosts.

New Zealand 4 (Katie Glynn 2, Anita Punt, Michaela Curtis) India 1 (Jaspreet Kaur) HT: 2-0.

 

- Fairfax Media

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