The Vantage Black Sticks Men have secured their first-ever FIH Hockey Pro League win with a 3-1 shootout victory over the Great Britain Men. The New Zealand side came out firing early in the match and in the third-quarter Stephen Jenness was rewarded with a great goal.
Vantage Black Sticks Men’s Assistant Coach Glenn Turner stated “It was great to get our first win, we will be looking forward to improving our basics tomorrow as we aim to back up against the Great Britain Men”.
The Vantage Black Sticks Men came out firing against Great Britain in their third match of the 2020 FIH Hockey Pro League. Looking to put themselves in front early in the game, the Kiwis went onto the ascendency straight away. Simon Child went close in the opening moments of the match when his powerful shot struck the thigh of George Pinner in goal. Great Britain as the quarter wore on started to regain their composure and managed to go close on several occasions. Richard Joyce pulled off some clutch saves to deny the Great Britain side.
The Brits had the first opportunity of the second quarter when the New Zealand team couldn’t clear their circle; the resulting penalty corner was saved once more by Richard Joyce who covered the goal well and stopped the second and third scoring chances. After being forced to absorb some significant pressure, the Kiwis were able to break down to the Great Britain circle and challenge their defence.
Late in the second quarter, the New Zealand side managed to find an open Marcus Child in the circle who managed to pop the ball up and onto a Great Britain foot for the first Kiwi penalty corner of the match. New Zealand was unable to get a clear shot off the resulting penalty corner.
An exciting first half ended at 0-0 even though both teams could have found their way onto the score sheet and put themselves in front in the match.
The New Zealand Men came out of the half time sheds looking to continue their positive momentum from the first half. The side earned themselves an early penalty corner in the half. Unfortunately, Kane Russell’s drag-flick went far right of the goal.
New Zealand put themselves in the lead for the first time in the 2020 FIH Hockey Pro League when a turnover deep in the Great Britain half was then passed to an open Stephen Jenness in the circle who put a rocket tomahawk past the Great Britain goalkeeper.
The Kiwis went into the final quarter with a narrow 1-0 lead over Great Britain as they searched for their first-ever win in the FIH Hockey Pro League.
Great Britain with only minutes to go in the contest found an open player in the circle who managed to chip the ball past the New Zealand defence where Christopher Griffiths then one time chipped the ball over Richard Joyce’s shoulder into the Kiwis goal.
The match went into a penalty shootout where the Vantage Black Sticks Men would hold their nerve to secure a 3-1 shootout victory behind some outstanding goalkeeper from Richard Joyce.
New Zealand will hit the turf tomorrow at 3:10 pm as they attempt to go back to back against Great Britain.
Vantage Black Sticks Men 1 (Stephen Jenness 43 min)
Great Britain 1 (Christopher Griffiths 56 min)
*New Zealand won the shootout 3-1