Sport Other Sports Both Australian hockey teams win first up

Both Australian hockey teams win first up

Kirstin Dwyer of Australia vies with Mihyun Park of Korea.
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Australia’s men and women started their respective hockey World Cup campaigns with victories on Saturday in The Hague.

The Kookaburras produced a solid 4-0 win over Malaysia in the opening men’s match while the Hockeyroos defeated Korea 3-2.

Earlier, in the first encounter in the women’s competition, New Zealand scraped past Belgium 4-3.

“We took a long time to score. We were our own worst enemy,” Australia men’s coach Ric Charlesworth said.

“We made a bunch of chances in the first half and didn’t finish.”

Glenn Turner put the Kookaburras ahead in the 25th minute before three goals in a four-minute spell in the second.

Eddie Ockenden doubled the lead on 50 minutes and Jamie Dwyer put his name on the score sheet a couple of minutes later. Turner added his second goal when converting a penalty corner to extend the lead to 4-0.

“I think in the first game of the tournament everyone is a bit anxious and things are just being sorted out but I’m pleased with the result,” Charlesworth said.

Defending champions Australia sit top of Pool A after Belgium had a last-minute 3-2 win against India and Spain held England to a 1-1 draw.

The Australian women conceded an early field goal from Cheon Eunbi but came back to score three to win the game.

Emily Hurtz equalised before Anna Flanagan struck twice to turn the score around. Cheon Seul Ki’s goal on 67 minutes came too late for Korea to claim a draw.

“We knew before we started the game and the tournament that the match against Korea would be a very difficult one,” coach Adam Commens said.

“I thought that we built into the game and throughout the second half we played some good hockey.

“During that period we controlled the match well and I was pleased with the efforts of our players to take their opportunities well.

“The last five or six minutes were a little disappointing, to let them back into the game, but ultimately we got the three points and that’s what we were after.”

Captain Madonna Blyth was rested due to a calf strain sustained in training on Friday.

“We’d like her to play [against Japan on Monday],” Commens said.

“Obviously it’s not ideal to have her sitting off for too long but, as you know with this type of injury, it’s five to seven days normally.

“Belgium is in five days but we’ll monitor each day, do a small fitness test but right now she’s resting; she didn’t warm up or do anything.”

The Black Sticks women led Belgium 4-0 after 44 minutes of play thanks to a Krystal Forgesson double strike and goals from Anita Punt and Kayla Whitelock.

However, Belgium, ranked 12th in the world, took control of the match in the second half and scored through Barbara Nelen, Emilie Sinia and Stephanie de Groof to shorten the margin to 4-3.

New Zealand’s Forgesson said: “Belgium showed a lot of determination to get back at us. This is something we need to look at, because we were fortunate to have made the most of our chances early on.” The host nation tops women’s Pool A thanks to a 6-1 thrashing of Japan.

Pool B competition will start on Sunday with England facing USA, Germany playing China and Argentina taking on South Africa.

In the men’s competition, Olympic champions Germany take on South Africa, the Netherlands meet Argentina and New Zealand play Korea.