Gold Coast, Australia
- New Zealand defeat England in shoot-out
- Australia win their Semi-Final against India
- Wales and Scotland finish competition with wins
Oceania rivals Australia and New Zealand will play for the women’s hockey gold medals at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games as they both won their respective Semi-Finals tonight.
In the first Semi-Final, England, who finished top of Pool A, took on Pool B runners-up New Zealand - the highest scoring team in this event so far, with 18 goals.
New Zealand nor their opponents could find the back of the net in this match however, but that did not detract from the fast-paced, action packed encounter that thrilled yet another capacity crowd at the Gold Coast Hockey Centre.
While New Zealand goalkeeper Sally Rutherford made a number of crucial saves during regulation time, Grace O’Hanlon entered the cauldron and left a hero, denying England time and time again in the shoot-out.
The Black Sticks alternate goalkeeper saved four of England’s shoot-out attempts - from Alex Danson, who was making her 300th international appearance (combined for England and Great Britain), Sophie Bray, Anna Toman and Hollie Pearne-Webb. Hannah Martin was the only English player able to beat her.
New Zealand meanwhile relied on Samantha Harrison and captain Stacey Michelsen to score the two shoot-out goals to win the Semi-Final for the Kiwis and take them to the gold medal match in the Commonwealth Games for the first time since 2010.
After their win, New Zealand Head Coach Mark Hager said: “Grace was brilliant, she kept us alive and ignited our players in the shoot-out. I also want to praise Sally who was outstanding and really kept us in the game under huge pressure.”
Straight afterwards, Australia’s Hockeyroos qualified for their fourth consecutive gold medal match at the Commonwealth Games.
The 2014 champions dominated the majority of this match, and whilst India had their chances, the Hockeyroos got the all-important goal to take them to the final.
In the 36th minute, Grace Stewart volleyed home a raised pass from Savannah Fitzpatrick’s in what was one of the best goals of the event so far.
Whilst this was a highlight, Hockeyroos Coach Paul Gaudoin will be pleased his team continued their strong defensive duties, with the hosts yet to concede at this event.
Speaking afterwards, Australia’s Emily Smith reflected on their campaign so far. She said: “We haven't gone through this tournament 'guns blazing'. We have had to grind every game, but that's what will set us up for the final."
Following their wins, defending champions Australia will now play their Trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand in the gold medal match at 12:45 (all times local) on Saturday 14th April, with England playing India for bronze earlier, at 10:30.
Earlier in the day, Scotland and Malaysia entertained the fans with a six-goal thriller.
The Scots started well, with Millie Brown and an Amy Brodie double giving them a 3-0 half-time lead.
Malaysia then battled their way back into the game, with Fatin Sukri then Nuraini Rashid both scoring through penalty corners.
Despite the attempted comeback, Scotland’s nerves settled when Lucy Lanigan scored Scotland’s fourth as the game finished 4-2 - a result that saw Scotland finish in seventh and Malaysia eighth.
In their debut Commonwealth Games, Ghana took Wales to a shootout in their classification match after the match finished 1-1.
Ghana stunned their European opponents as they took the lead through Serwaa Boakye in the 43rd minute. It took just under 10 minutes for Wales to level, through a penalty corner from Tina Evans, which took the game to shoot-out.
Sian French and Sarah Jones emerged the heroes for Wales as the only two scorers in the shoot-out, ensuring a ninth place finish for their team, with Ghana ranked 10th.
Next up are the men’s classification matches and Semi-Finals as well as the 5/6th women’s classification match which all take place tomorrow, Friday 13th April.
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, .
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, .
Semi-Finals: England 0, New Zealand 0 (New Zealand won shoot-out 2-1); Australia 1, India 0.
9/10th: Wales 1, Ghana 1 (Wales won shoot-out 2-0)
7/8th: Malaysia 2, Scotland 4.