It was goals galore on the opening day of the Oceania Cup being played in Stratford, New Zealand as the Black Sticks women slotted 31 goals past Samoa, then watched as the men’s team put 37 past their Samoan opponents. Australia's men also got into their stride quickly with a 17-0 win over Fiji.
In the first women’s game of the competition, New Zealand's Black Sticks laid their marker down as they defeated Samoa 31-0 in their opening day game in the Oceania Cup.
Kirsten-Leigh Pearce netted six goals, with Charlotte Harrison and Anita Punt scoring five apiece, and seven other Black Sticks players getting on the score sheet. This scoreline beats the 26-0 that New Zealand recorded against Samoa in the 2013 edition of the Oceania Cup.
Speaking after the game, New Zealand captain Anita Punt said: “Saturday [against Australia] will be a wake-up call for us. We’ll have to be on the ball straight away otherwise we will find ourselves two or three goals down. We will review today, we tried to play to our structures and worked on things we had been doing at training. We must aim everything towards Australia.”
The difference in rankings showed as world number one side Australia attacked Fiji, ranked 64th, from the opening whistle.
Within four minutes on the clock, Australia's Kookaburras earned a penalty stroke, which Blake Govers put away for the first of a hat trick.
Glenn Turner found the net four times, three field goals and penalty corner conversion, while Trent Mitton showed his drag-flicking ability with a hat trick of penalty corner strikes.
Kookaburra debutant Joshua Beltz also found the score-sheet when he slotted home a penalty stroke in the 57th minute.
Kookaburras coach Paul Gaudoin said: “It was great to start with a strong win, however we didn't play as well as we would have liked. It was great to see Josh play his first game and score, but now we are looking ahead to tomorrow against a strong New Zealand team.”
New Zealand's Black Sticks men eclipsed Australia's win as they hit 37 goals past a Samoa.
The Black Sticks, who are aiming to win this event and secure one of the last spots in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, scored 16 goals in the first half, with Nichlas Wilson scoring four of his seven goals in the first quarter.
Stephen Jenness also racked up seven goals past Samoa’s Taumaloto Tuiuli on a day the goalkeeper will probably want to forget.
Women: Samoa 0, New Zealand 31.
Men: Australia 17, Fiji 0; Samoa 0, New Zealand 37.
Photo: Courtesy of Planet Hockey Magazine
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