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Black Sticks Men win Nations Cup opener

The Black Sticks have won their opening game  of the  FIH Nations Cup
Celebration time for Brad Read as he scores his first goal for the Black Sticks Men PHOTO: FIH

The Black Sticks Men hockey team have opened their FIH Nations Cup with a strong victory over hosts Poland, 4-2.

Brad Read, Jake Smith, Jonty Elmes and Simon Child scored goals as New Zealand's men defeated the world No 28 side at Gniezno Hockey Stadium in Gniezno on Friday (Saturday NZ Time).



Read scored his first international goal when he finished off a nice team move to give New Zealand the lead as the kiwis made it difficult for the Poles early in the game with some slick passing on a difficult surface, and winning several penalty corners. 


Jake Smith doubled the lead at the beginning of the second quarter from a broken down penalty corner. The turf caused the ball to bobble from the injection resulting in a mis-trap but the ball found its way into the circle with Smith duly slotting the ball under the keeper. 

The Poles failed to capitalise on a few counterattacks, but a penalty corner from Damian Jarzembowski brought some balance to the game midway through the second quarter. 


The experienced Kane Russell almost gifted the hosts an easy chance when he fouled Gracjan Jarzyński, but the resulting penalty stroke was put wide just before half-time. 

Poland came out strong in the second half and scored an equaliser three minutes in through Maksymilian Koperski.


New Zealand regained control of the game and Jonty Elmes and Simon Child put the result beyond doubt. The duo showed composure to score one each to leave the hosts to rue their missed chances.    


The Black Sticks Men play their second pool match vs Austria tomorrow June 2 at 2.30am NZT


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