Positive Start For Both GB Teams in New Zealand
By Colin Pike
Both GB Teams started their second FIH Pro League weekends earning points against New Zealand in Auckland.
GB Men drew 1-1 but lost 3-1 in the shootout followed by GB Women completing a convincing 3-0 win in the second match.
The first quarter of the men's match ended goalless in spite of both teams having attacking intent in an entertaining fifteen minutes of action.
Mark Gleghorne and Will Calnan both forced saves from GB's second penalty corner of the match and New Zealand put the ball in the back of the GB net in the 25th minute only for Marcus Childs' goal to be ruled out for a back stick offence.
At the end of the first half, Liam Ansell rattled the left post as another period of entertaining hockey went unrewarded with that elusive goal.
New Zealand started to mount some pressure in the third quarter and after David Ames was forced to clear the ball from the goal-line, the deadlock was broken in the 43rd minute, Stephen Jenness rifling the ball into the roof of the net from the left of the circle, goalkeeper George Pinner given no chance of a save.
The hosts went on to force two penalty cornes at the end of the third quarter, the sequence started by a New Zealand video referral and ended by a GB video referral to leave the visitors going into the final quarter 1-0 down.
GB's equaliser came with four minutes to play, Chris Griffiths' shot ending up in the top right corner.
For the second week running, GB faced a shootout and ended up on the losing side. As last week, they took the lead, this time through Will Calnan, but Jenness, Dylan Thomas and Steve Edwards scored to earn New Zealand the bonus point.
Surbiton's Zach Wallace was in the starting lineup with Tom Sorsby coming on in the third minute and Tom Sorsby following in the sixth minute. Pinner played the whole match with Harry Gibson staying on the bench.
In the women's match, GB rebounded from the disappointment of gaining now points from their cancelled match against Australia, in spite of leading 1-0 at half time when the game had been abandoned, to win 3-0 in Auckland.
The win was achieved even though goalkeeper Maddie Hinch had to leave the pitch in the sixth minute after sustaining a facial injury defending New Zealand's first penalty corner.
Surbiton's Sabbie Heesh duly deputised and kept a clean sheet.
New Zealand fell behind in the ninth minute, Tess Howard finishing from close range. GB doubled their lead in the 21st minute, Megan Hull fouling Surbiton's Hannah Martin in the circle and conceding a penalty stroke.
Charlotte Watson slotted the ball into the top left corner in emphatic fashion to put the visitors in control with a half time lead.
Hinch wasn't the only player in the wars. Sarah Jones sported a black eye, Howard had a patch above her eye and Martin clashed heads with New Zealand's Brooke Neal.
For the second game on Sunday, New Zealand will have to work on their penalty corner routine as they failed to score from nine awards.
The icing on the cake for GB came in the 50th minute when a cross from Howard on the right wing was diverted into the bottom left corner by Shona McCallin to leave New Zealand trailing by three goals and facing a hopeless cause.
Great Britain successfully ran down the clock to earn their first win of the campaign.
Martin was in the starting lineup with Jo Hunter coming on as a fifth minute substitute.
Former Surbiiton player, Julia King was in the New Zealand squad and having been in the Black Sticks' starting lineup for both games against Belgium, entered the field of play as a sixth minute substitute.
GB Men play New Zealand on Sunday morning at 2 am and the women's game follows at 4.30 am, both matches being shown on BT Sport.