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Black Sticks Men win again, Women draw

A win and a draw respectively for the men's and women's Black Sticks teams
The Black Sticks Men scored a 4-2 win over South Korea at the Nations Cup. PHOTO: FIH

Another victory for the Blacks Sticks Men at the FIH Nations Cup in Poland, while the Black Sticks Women have had a comeback for a draw in Spain.

The men's team topped Pool A after winning their fourth game 4-2 against South Korea to qualify for the semifinals.


The Black Sticks started strongly against South Korea, attacking from all sides of the pitch and got their reward within five minutes. It was a lovely team goal that started from their half and was brilliantly finished by the ever-reliable Scott Boyde.

It took 18 minutes for them to double their lead as Kane Russell converted from a penalty corner after his initial shot was saved by Jaehyeon Kim. 

Koreans were not able to make any real impact with the ball but a flurry of attacks in the final five minutes of the first half saw them pull one back. Cheoleon Park dissected a long ball to stun Leon Hayward.

An equaliser was not far away as the game changed but the Koreans could not add to the momentum and find that finish.

That lack of killer instinct was punished as Kane Russell found Simon Child on the left in the first minute of the second half. Child's shot was saved by the keeper but Jake Smith was at the right place at the right time to make it 3-1.

A great start to the fourth quarter followed as Sean Findlay found Hugo Inglis, whose first shot was saved. The rebound fell comfortably for Isaac Houlbrooke to smash it in. While Park got another goal for Korea with two minutes to go, it was too little too late in the end. 

Player of the match Sean Findlay, praised his teammates and defenders for giving them the freedom to be creative upfront,

“They played well and challenged us but the boys did well to keep ourselves at the top of the table. We managed to find a bit of space in the middle of the zone which was nice.”

Black Sticks Women FIH Nations Cup hockey
The Black Sticks Women came back from two goals down against Japan. PHOTO: FIH

The Black Sticks Women came from two goals down to draw against Japan in a Pool B fixture in Terrassa, Spain at the FIH Nations Cup.

It was a cautious start to the game from both sides. New Zealand had more penalty corners, circle entries, and possession in the first half but Japan made their chances count. 

Four minutes into the second quarter, Kanon Mori squeezed in from a penalty corner. It was a dramatic goal that saw the first two shots from Yu Asai and Hazuki Nagai saved before the finish from Mori.

Meanwhile, New Zealand failed to take advantage of a penalty stroke that was fired wide by Megan Hull. For Japan, a goal came out of nowhere in the final minute of the first half when Nagai deflected a long and hard ground ball from Shihori Oikawa. 

New Zealand wasted no time in restoring some balance to the scoreline by earning a penalty corner two minutes after the restart.

It became a penalty stroke when the ball hit Nagai’s foot. Stephanie Dickins’ powerful drive hit the crossbar and went in after hitting the pad of goalkeeper Eika Nakamura. New Zealand continued to apply pressure and finally got the equaliser with six minutes to go. Dickins’ long pass was deflected for Hannah Gravenhall to smash it in. 

New Zealand's Rose Tynan won player of the match and was pleased with the way her team fought back.:

"It was a dominant performance. We were disappointed to be down at halftime. Props to everyone to keep pushing and get the goals in the second half."


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