18 Jun 2009

Black Sticks win opener

5:14 pm on 18 June 2009

The New Zealand women's hockey team has beaten India 3-2 in the first of a three-Test series in Christchurch.

It was 3-1 to the Black Sticks at half time.

Krystal Forgesson opened the scoring in the eighth minute, slotting home a rebound off debutant Sam Harrison's initial shot.

Harrison was on hand 10 minutes later to take advantage of an Indian mistrap. The ball fell to the young Northlander who beat two defenders before finishing nicely.

India got one back through a penalty corner variation in the 26th minute finished by Rijuta Nullick but the Black Sticks responded instantly from the restart, transferring the ball straight upfield for Forgesson to finish.

New coach Mark Hager says he was pleased with how his side stuck to the game plan in the first half but the Indians came to life and New Zealand turned over too much ball in the second, the tourists scoring on the 60 minute mark from another penalty corner, this time through Toonam Rani on the post.

That goal created a tense final few minutes but India didn't really threaten any further.

The two teams meet again in Nelson this weekend for two further matches with the Black Sticks expecting a tougher time, as the Indians only arrived in Christchurch late Wednesday night.

Travel issues meant a match scheduled for Wednesday was cancelled.

All the action is free for spectators and Hager says it'd be great to see hockey lovers turn out for the two remaining internationals.