Women’s hockey: Black Sticks beat South africa in close final

2009-10-20 00:00

AFTER four wins and a draw in the preliminary matches, the South African women’s hockey team stumbled at the last hurdle in Cape Town on Sunday.

New Zealand’s Black Sticks beat the home country 2-1 in the final of the BDO Champions Challenge Tournament at Hartleyvale Stadium, thanks to goals from Anita Punt and Clarissa Eshuis, while Kate Woods replied for SA.

In the earlier play-off matches, FIH said world number 16s Italy clinched fifth spot with a 3-0 victory against Chile and the world’s sixth-ranked Japan pipped world number sevens Spain 1-0 to earn the bronze medal.

World number 13 seeds Azerbaijan will be unhappy with seventh place.

World number 11 team the Black Sticks reportedly had their work cut out in overcoming World No. 12 SA.

The two countries were acknowledged as the best teams and SA will rue the early chances they didn’t turn into goals. The Kiwis came back into the game and Punt opened the scoring after a goalmouth scramble.

Black Sticks’ dominance continued and Eshuis made it 2-0 with a penalty corner.

SA fought back and play seesawed from goalmouth to goalmouth, Capetonian Woods rewarding her team’s redoubling of effort with a low PC flick for the 50th goal of the event.

More attacking forays followed, but New Zealand hung on until the final whistle to earn the sole spot available at the Cape Town tournament for next July’s Champion Trophy in Nottingham, which includes the world’s top six women’s hockey countries.

Joint top goalscorers were Farah Fredericks (SA) and Eshuis, top goalkeeper was SA’s Mariette Rix and top player Gemma Flynn (New Zealand).

Earlier SA results: beat Chile 1-0; beat Japan 4-2; beat Azerbaijan 3-0; drew with New Zealand 3-3; beat Spain 1-0.

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