International hockey is well and truly back, for New Zealand, after a brilliant match between the Vantage Black Sticks Women and the Hockeyroos in Auckland on Tuesday night.
The final result of 2-2 was a fair reflection of the battle between the two teams. Nine months since both team’s last international hit outs in Tokyo, there was a little bit of rust to shake off although Australia had a few good chances in the first quarter but for some excellent keeping by Grace O’Hanlon.
The Kiwis responded positively with a strong midfield display putting pressure on the Australian defence. Debutant Rose Tynan opened her account early in the second quarter with a tap in off a penalty corner to put the Black Sticks up 1-0 leading into the half-time break.
The second half started with momentum to the Black Sticks resulting in a stunning long distance pass, rarely seen at international level, by Steph Dickins to Olivia Shannon who went one-on-one with the keeper and smashed home a powerful shot to put New Zealand up 2-0.
The Australian’s turned it around in the fourth quarter earning a succession of penalty corners resulting in a goal and then another goal from a penalty stroke, due to a body on the line, to bring themselves level three minutes into the quarter and putting the Black Sticks on the back foot.
Neither team was able to find a winner and were both able to retain composure in the final minutes to end up with a draw.