Great Britain’s women had a tough start to their FIH Pro League campaign as New Zealand ended their scoring drought in emphatic fashion cruising to a 5-1 win in Christchurch.
New Zealand had suffered 1-0 defeats to the Netherlands and Belgium in their opening two fixtures, but took the lead in the fifth minute against Great Britain, Olivia Merry scoring from open play.
Great Britain equalised in the 11th minute winning a penalty stroke via video referral after challenging that a shot on goal from their first penalty corner had been blocked illegally on the goal line. Surbiton’s Giselle Ansley calmly slotted the stroke past Sally Rutherford to restore parity.
Four minutes into the second half, the Black Sticks restored the lead they were destined never to lose, Ella Gunson converting her country’s second penalty corner.
Great Britain lost their video referral in the 26th minute challenging the award of New Zealand’s third penalty corner.
Merry struck again in the 35th minute, a short run into the circle followed by a vicious shot into the GB goal.
New Zealand added two further goals in the fourth quarter, Merry completing her hat-trick with nine minutes remaining with a clinical penalty corner conversion with Amy Robinson adding the fifth with a wicked deflection, the goal confirmed after an umpires’ video referral.
Former Surbiton goalkeeper, Grace O’Hanlon, who played for the Sugden Road club in the first half of the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division season before returning to the Southern Hemisphere, replaced Rutherford in goal for the second half and made an excellent late save to deny Grace Balsdon from Great Britain’s fourth penalty corner.
Surbiton’s Ansley, Sarah Evans, Hannah Martin and captain, Hollie Pearne-Webb were all in the GB starting line-up with Emily Defroand coming on as a fifth minute substitute, followed by both Jo Hunter and Erica Sanders a minute later.
More information about the women’s competition can be found at the FIH Pro League website
The Great Britain Hockey match report can be found here