Gold Coast, Australia
- New Zealand defeat India to reach final
- Australia win their Semi-Final against England
- Wales, Pakistan and Malaysia men plus Canada women win classification matches
Australia will play New Zealand for the men’s hockey gold medals at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games after both nations won their Semi-Finals tonight.
New Zealand defeated India 3-2 whilst Australia beat England 2-1 in the evening matches.
The first Semi-Final saw New Zealand take on Asian champions India and it was the Black Sticks who went ahead after seven minutes through a powerful Hugo Inglis reverse-shot.
New Zealand doubled their lead five minutes later when Stephen Jenness slipped a back-stick flick through the legs of India goalkeeper PR Sreejesh.
India pulled a goal back just seconds from half-time from a Harmanpreet Singh penalty stroke before Marcus Child gave New Zealand some breathing room midway through the third quarter, scoring from a penalty corner deflection to make it 3-1.
India were not out of it yet though and continued to seek ways to claw their way back into the game. Harmanpreet Singh, who had just come back on as a kicking-back, scored a penalty corner flick in the 56th minute which made for a nervy end to the game.
New Zealand held on to win though and book their place in their first Commonwealth Games final since Manchester 2002 where they won a silver medal.
Afterwards, New Zealand Head Coach Darren Smith said: “For most of the game we had a two goal lead which is really pleasing. India put us under pressure, especially in the third quarter, but I thought we handled it really well and then scored again. India came at us strongly but they were down by two and had nothing to lose. I’m really impressed with the way we absorbed everything they threw at us.”
In the second men’s Semi-Final, Trent Mitton scored a double in Australia’s win against England.
"In the back of everyone's minds it's for (Mark) Knowlesy as well. We don't talk about it too much but I think everyone knows it's his last game - home crowd, gold medal match - it's pretty special."
Trent Mitton, Australia
It looked as though it could have been another Aussie goal blitz as Mitton shot between England keeper George Pinner’s legs after only 26 seconds.
Following that early shock England composed themselves, grew in confidence and eventually levelled in the third period as Ian Sloan slotted home from the back post in the 37th minute.
Australia’s Kookaburras persevered however and Mitton scored his second of the night, from a penalty corner, with only ten minutes on the clock remaining, his sixth goal in only five games.
Australia then came under intense pressure from England after yellow cards to Daniel Beale and Tom Craig but clung on to take the win and set up a gold medal match against their Trans-Tasman rivals.
Speaking afterwards about the gold medal match, Australia’s goal hero Trent Mitton said: “The chance is everything. Everyone works to be in that gold medal match on the last day. In the back of everyone's minds it's for (Mark) Knowlesy as well. We don't talk about it too much but I think everyone knows it's his last game - home crowd, gold medal match - it's pretty special."
As a result of the men’s Semi-Finals, Australia will play New Zealand in both the men’s and women’s gold medal matches, the women’s taking place at 12:45 and the men’s at 21:15 (all times local). In similar fashion, England will play India for bronze in both events, the women’s match taking place at 10:30 and men’s at 19:00.
Three men’s and a women’s classification match also took place today to decide on final rankings for those not involved in the medal matches.
Malaysia men secured fifth spot after defeating Scotland 2-1. Shahril Saabah and Amirol Arshad proved the heroes for Malaysia while Alan Forsyth scored Scotland’s only goal. Despite their loss, Scotland’s sixth place finish is their best in Commonwealth Games hockey history.
Pakistan meanwhile finished the event unbeaten as they defeated Canada 3-1. Muhammad Arslan Qadir, Ali Mabashar and Muhammad Irfan JR scored for Pakistan while James Kirkpatrick got Canada’s solitary goal. This result meant Pakistan finished seventh and Canada eighth.
Wales finished their encouraging campaign with a 3-2 win against South Africa. Gareth Furlong and a James Carson double won the match for European nation, with Ryan Crowe and Dayaan Cassiem getting on the scoresheet for the African champions. The Welsh win saw them finish ninth and South Africa 10th.
In the women’s event, Canada shocked World Cup bound South Africa 3-1. Shanlee Johnston and Madeline Secco gave them an early lead before Natalie Sourisseau also joined in on the scoring. South Africa managed to score a consolation goal through Candice Manuel which resulted in Canada finishing fifth, their highest ever ranking in Commonwealth Games hockey, and South Africa sixth.
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 .
For Gold Coast 2018 hockey tickets, .
5/6th: South Africa 1, Canada 3.
Semi-Finals: India 2, New Zealand 3; Australia 2, England 1.
5/6th: Scotland 1, Malaysia 2.
7/8th: Canada 1, Pakistan 3.
9/10th: South Africa 2, Wales 3.