14 Jun 2015

Black Sticks men win, women lose

11:19 am on 14 June 2015

The New Zealand men's hockey team have bounced back with a 4-1 victory against Japan in their classification match at the World League tournament in Buenos Aires this morning.

The Black Sticks' Andy Hayward in action.

The Black Sticks' Andy Hayward in action. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The win means they will now play against 11th ranked Spain in the 5th place playoff at 4am tomorrow (Monday, NZ time).

After a heart-breaking defeat to Canada in Friday morning's quarter-final, Black Sticks defender Andy Hayward said to pick themselves up and get a win today was really pleasing and head coach Colin Batch agrees.

"I thought we overcame the anguish of the quarter-final and did what we needed to. We had some good meetings following that game and players responded really positively. I think full credit needs to go to them for coming out and playing well today," said Batch.

Today's goals came from Stephen Jenness, Shea McAleese, Andy Hayward and Steve Edwards.

Throughout the game the Black Sticks had 19 circle penetrations of which they fired 18 shots, highlighting their dominance up front.

"One of the areas we wanted to improve was our circle opportunities and I thought we did that, it was definitely a focus for us. We still have work to do on our rebounding and penalty corners and we will be looking at that," said Batch.

Batch said the focus now turns to securing a fifth place finish by beating Spain in the final game of the tournament tomorrow.

Meanwhile the Black Sticks Women have been edged 2-0 by the Netherlands in the second of two tests in Holland.

In front of a vocal home crowd, the world champion Dutch had the majority of possession in the first quarter but couldn't find a way through the New Zealand defence with goalkeeper Sally Rutherford making some top saves.

Both sides had several scoring chances in the second quarter but it was Netherlands who capitalised with some clever rebounding off an initial save.

Striker Kirsten Pearce was unlucky not to score the equaliser with a stinging shot at goal that was just deflected wide by the Dutch keeper.

Leading 1-0 at halftime, the Dutch turned up the pressure in the third quarter and extended their lead with a sharp shot from the top of the circle following a quick long corner.

The Black Sticks pushed hard to pull a goal back but were unable to get the ball into the attacking circle.

The two tests have been part of New Zealand's build-up to the World League tournament in Belgium which starts next weekend.

The Black Sticks women now travel from the Netherlands to Belgium where they will set up base and prepare for their first match at the World League against Poland at 8pm on Saturday 20 June (NZ time).

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