New Zealand demonstrated their strength by taking home a massive 6-1 win over Japan at the Pahang Hockey Champions Challenge 1. Securing their second win in Kuantan, the Black Sticks are now top of pool A while the Samurais suffered their first defeat in this tournament.
“We are very pleased that we were able to take our chances”, said New Zealand’s captain Dean Couzins. “With two wins we are in a good position now although the last three matches are the most important ones. We are looking forward to the quarter finals.”
The Black Sticks, playing in white today, were first to score when Steve Edwards (6’) slotted in from close range. Kane Russell (12’) doubled the lead soon after, firing home a penalty corner. Because of the hot weather conditions this match was also played in four quarters of 17.5 minutes each.
As soon as the second quarter had started, the Black Sticks extended their lead to 3-0 thanks to an Alex Shaw (19’) field goal. Just before halftime Simon Child (34’) added another goal, making the score 4-0.
In the second half, Russell (38’) added his second goal of the game with a skilful dragflick. Japan’s consolation goal was scored by Ippei Fujimoto (53’). Another promising Kiwi attack saw Phil Burrows linking well with Stephen Jenness (59’) to cross the line again.
New Zealand, who have qualified for the Rabobank Hockey World Cup starting on May 31st in The Hague, were too strong for Japan winning this match 6-1.