Black Sticks look to build on draw with Dutch
The New Zealand men's hockey team will look to build on an encouraging 3-all draw with the Netherlands, when they face Ireland in their next game of the World League semifinal tournament in Rotterdam tonight.
The Dutch, who won silver at last year's Olympic Games in London and are ranked third in the world, were heavily favoured ahead of yesterday's game, in front of their home crowd.
New Zealand got off to a terrible start to the game when Stephen Jenness was shown a yellow card and given five minutes in the sinbin after he tackled a Dutch attacker from behind.
The Netherlands dominated the first half, with 77 per cent of possession and better opportunities on attack, but were unable to translate it into goals.
It was the Black Sticks, who went into halftime with a 2-1 lead, courtesy of two excellent deflection goals from striker Hugo Inglis.
Inglis showed lightning quick reflexes with both his goals.
Jeroen Hertzberger opened the scoring for the Netherlands, after his team was awarded a penalty stroke when Black Sticks' captain Dean Couzins was adjudged to have stopped a goalbound shot with his shoulder.
They appeared to be in major trouble early in the second half, when Black Sticks' striker Jacob Smith scored 15 minutes into the half, after a great earlier run down the baseline from Shay Neal to give New Zealand a 3-1 lead.
Hertzberger grabbed his second goal, with 15 minutes left, firing in a penalty corner shot that gave New Zealand goalkeeper Hamish McGregor with no chance.
They were on level terms shortly after when Valentin Verga netted in a goalmouth scramble.
The Netherlands had 12 shots on goal, compared to just three from New Zealand but failed to take advantage of their chances in the goal circle.
The Black Sticks women started their World League semi-finals campaign with a 7-0 win over India.
This World League tournament has places up for grabs at the finals tournament in Argentina in December and spots at next year's World Cup on the line.
- © Fairfax NZ News