CWG hockey: Oz, Kiwi women set up gold clash (Lead)October 11th, 2010 - 9:35 pm ICT by IANS
By Anand Philar
New Delhi, Oct 11 (IANS) Australia and New Zealand scrambled to unimpressive victories to set up a gold medal clash in the women’s hockey competition of the Commonwealth Games here Monday.
Australia, thanks to a 38th minute penalty corner conversion by skipper Madonna Blythe, overcame England 1-0 while the Kiwis beat South Africa also by the same score-line after Clarissa Eshuis swept home a penalty corner deflection in the 53rd minute.
Neither game rose to any heights. If the first semifinal was played in the mid-day sun that had both Australia and England struggling for pace and rhythm, the other game saw rival forwards in poor light as the Kiwis and Proteas took turns to miss sitters.
Earlier, India overcame Canada 3-0 on goals by Ritu Rani (18th), Chanchan Devi (66) and Saba Anjum (70th) to finish fifth while Trinidad and Tobago surprised Malaysia 2-1 in the playoff for 9-10 positions.
The Kiwis, favourites for the gold medal, had more of the exchanges against the South Africans who were fortunate to make the semis on goal difference. Had the Kiwis converted even half the chances they generated, they would have won by at least a four-goal margin.
“I thought we played poorly in the last 15 minutes, giving away the ball and coming under pressure. We also missed a few chances,” said Kiwi team coach Mark Hager from Australia.
On the other hand, the South Africans depended far too much on their senior player Pietie Coetzee, who was too well policed to be effective. Although they had more penetrations, the Kiwi defence was a step quicker to avert danger.
“It was our first semifinal and we were a bit anxious as well as nervous. But we are happy for the experience and exposure. I thought the Kiwis defended well tonight,” said South African team captain Marsha Mareschia on missing five penalty corners.
Likewise, the Aussies had to work hard for their win over England who will have to be again content with missing out on the big prize after having finished third in both World Cup and Champions Trophy tournaments this year.
England trooped off the pitch in tears that were still flowing at the media conference nearly half-an-hour after the game.
“We didn’t generate enough chances and the Australians were always behind the ball,” said England coach Danny Kerry while skipper Kate Walsh in a voice choked with emotion said: “We came here to win the gold medal and I am obviously disappointed.”
Australia team coach Frank Murray admitted that it was far too close for comfort, but his team took one of the chances that came their way and eventually won.
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- Women's hockey: SA, NZ eye semi-final spot - Oct 06, 2010
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Tags: 53rd, aussies, australia and new zealand, blythe, chanchan, coach mark, coetzee, commonwealth games, deflection, goal difference, hager, hockey competition, kiwis, mid day, penalty corners, score line, semis, south africans, team coach, trinidad and tobago