- Asian champions defeat previously unbeaten England 2-1
- Canada hold on against New Zealand to earn second draw of event
Gold Coast, Australia: India picked up their second win in the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games women’s event as they subjected England to their first defeat in Pool A at the Gold Coast Hockey Centre.
Shortly afterwards Canada held on to record their second draw in Pool B, this time 0-0 against New Zealand.
In the first match of the day, India earned a memorable victory against England thanks to goals from Navneet Kaur (42′) and Gurjit Kaur (48′).
The 2017 Asian champions were behind after just 35 seconds however as Hollie Pearne-Webb threaded a ball through the Indian defence to reach Sophie Bray on the baseline, her cross then deflected in by England captain Alex Danson.
England continued to dominate possession and nearly made it 2-0 moments later. Bray again found Danson but her high strike was well saved. In the final minute of the quarter Bray went close herself but her backhand shot was saved.
India gradually forced their way into the game, and whilst riding their luck through a number of penalty corners, got back into it at the end of the third quarter.
Some quick passing at the top of England’s circle provided Kaur with the opportunity to strike a low shot past England goalkeeper Maddie Hinch.
After the final break, India moved ahead through a penalty stroke from Gujrit after England’s Anna Toman was adjudged to have fouled an Indian attacker as they contested a rebound.
England tried their best to get back into the game, throwing everything at the Asian champions in the final minutes, but India’s defence remained intact as they held on for their second victory of the event and keep Pool A open.
Speaking after their win, India Coach Harendra Singh said: “It was a tough match today against a very strong side, but the girls produced a strong performance. This victory is special as we won against players who have won the gold medals at the Olympics. I am sure it will give our team more confidence going into the next match.”
In the second match of the day, New Zealand’s Black Sticks could not find a way through against a stubborn Canadian team.
Athletes from both sides found it tough in over 30c heat under the midday sun, but provided plenty of end to end action for thousands of fans who had come along to cheer them on.
Whilst New Zealand will be disappointed not to build on their previous two wins, Canada, ranked 21 in the FIH Hero World Rankings, will take many positives from their performance against fourth ranked New Zealand.
The Black Sticks started the match well, creating plenty of scoring opportunities but were unable to find the finishing touches. Canada on the other hand fought strongly for possession and were impressive in defence throughout the game.
New Zealand’s best scoring opportunity came late in the second half with a penalty corner goal awarded and then disallowed on video referral with the hit just missing the backboard.
Afterwards Canada’s Katherine Wright said: “We gave them a real run for their money. We’re pretty proud of that performance. To keep New Zealand, who’s a top five team in the world, down to 0-0 is pretty special for us.”
Matches in both the women’s and men’s hockey events at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games will be taking place until 14 April. For the full event schedule, click here.
The women’s hockey event at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games is one of the last major international events before the Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup London 2018 taking place in England between 21 July and 5 August. Tickets for that event are still available and can be purchased here.
For Gold Coast 2018 hockey tickets, click here.