The depth and quality of Australian women’s hockey was on full display tonight as an Australia A team defeated India 3-2 in Adelaide.
Captained by Hockeyroo Greta Hayes, Australia A led 3-0 after 35 minutes before being forced to withstand a fierce India comeback. However, an outstanding and resolute defensive display secured the win in trying conditions.
Making the result more impressive was that the players only came together on Monday and had less than a handful of training sessions coming into the match.
Of the 18 Australia A players to take the pitch, 10 were backing up from the Hockeyroos’ three match series against India.
A brilliant solo effort from Alice Arnott opened the scoring in the 18th minute before Ruby Harris doubled Australia A’s advantage two minutes later, latching onto Jade Smith’s pass to finish off a superb counterattack.
Taking their two goal lead into half time, Australia A then had a three-goal buffer five minutes after the resumption when Harris scored her second.
Staring at a three goal deficit, India was stung into action and they pegged a goal back in the 40th minute when Salima Tete struck.
Australia A substitute goalkeeper Rene Hunter came with a crucial save to deny an on target drag flick in the last quarter, however she could do nothing about Sangita Kumari’s pinpoint shot from an acute angle to make it 3-2 and set up a grandstand finish.
India was finishing with a head of steam as they surged forward at every opportunity, but some desperate and composed defending under pressure saw Australia A hold on.
Australia A Coach High Purvis was delighted with how his charges performed against a top eight women’s hockey nation.
“There was some really good leadership through a couple of training days and our meetings…and I was quietly confident with the athletes and their understanding of what we were trying to achieve,” said Purvis.
“I was impressed with our counter attacks and some of our ball movement was really good, so I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do in Match 2 on Saturday.”
“You never quite know how a team will gel, particularly given the speed and intensity of international hockey competition, so the players did well to organise themselves in our press and outlets.”
“Scoring a couple of goals through connections of some of the new players coming in and breaking away was exciting.
“There are a lot of learnings for a new group to play international hockey and having to hold onto a lead. It’s not easy and India put us under a lot of pressure, so overall it was a great experience.”
Australia A 3 (Arnott 18, Harris 20’/35’)
India 2 (Tete 40’, Kumari 54’)
@ MATE Stadium, Adelaide
Australia A v India Series
MATE Stadium, Adelaide
Match 1 – Thursday 25 May 2023 (6.30pm local, 7.00pm AEST)
Match 2 – Saturday 27 May 2023 (6.30pm local, 7.00pm AEST)
Ticketing details: Entry is FREE but patrons must register for the matches. Register now
Broadcast: Livestreamed on LIVEHockey and Watch.Hockey
Australia A Team
Alice Arnott (NSW), Casey Dolkens (QLD), Olivia Downes (VIC), Rachel Frusher (WA), Morgan Gallagher (QLD), Ruby Harris (QLD), Greta Hayes (NSW), Rene Hunter (NSW), Carly James (VIC), Alana Kavanagh (NSW), Josie Lawton (VIC), Line Malan (WA), Pippa Morgan (WA), Zoe Newman (NSW), Jade Smith (QLD), Maddison Smith (NSW), Aisling Utri (VIC), Abby Wilson (NSW)