1 Jun 2016

Black Sticks women open with win

5:40 am on 1 June 2016

The New Zealand women's hockey team have begun their Darwin Four-Nation tournament with a 4-1 win over India.

Black Sticks hockey player Pippa Hayward in action against Australia 2014.

Pippa Hayward. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The Black Sticks shook off a slow start and a tight 1-0 halftime lead to dominate the second half and score three unanswered goals in the space of six minutes in the fourth quarter.

Canterbury midfielder Pippa Hayward scored a double while Petrea Webster and Anita McLaren (formerly Punt) added to the score sheet.

Head coach Mark Hager said it was pleasing to open the four nations series with a win, although there was plenty to work on.

"It's always good to start with a win but there are definitely areas we need to work on and tighten up ahead of our next game against Australia," he said.

"We created a lot of chances but need to get better at converting more of those, and at times we went off the boil a bit so it's maintaining intensity for the full 60 minutes."

After a goalless first quarter, Hayward lit up the score board in the 18th minute off the back of a good baseline run and pass from Rachel McCann.

Hayward was in action again in the 47th minute after controlling a pass in the circle and slipping a shot through the feet of Savita in goal.

McLaren extended the buffer to three goals nine minutes from fulltime when she received on the run from a counter attack and smashed a shot past Savita's shoulder from the top of the circle.

Webster put the result beyond any doubt two minutes later with a superb one-time shot after an Indian mistrap in the circle.

A terrific individual effort from Anuradha Thokchom just before the final whistle saw India score a consolation goal.

The Black Sticks take to the turf against hosts Australia tonight.... the Aussies beat Japan 3-1 in their opening game.

This tournament is part of New Zealand's build up for the Champions Trophy in London later this month and the Rio Olympic Games in August.