27 Jan 2019

Black Sticks fall short in hockey doubleheader

8:33 pm on 27 January 2019

The Black Sticks men and women have opened hockey's new Pro League competition with hard-fought losses to the Netherlands in Auckland.

Black Sticks defender David Brydon tangles with Derck de Vilder of the Netherlands.

Black Sticks defender David Brydon tangles with Derck de Vilder of the Netherlands. Photo: Photosport

The men, trailing 0-3 after the first quarter, battled back to level the scores at halftime but couldn't respond to what proved to be a decisive third-quarter strike from the Dutch, who held on for a 4-3 win.

The New Zealand women were beaten 1-0 by the world No.1 Netherlands, a 38th-minute goal to Maartje Krekelaar the difference between the two teams.

The inaugural Pro League features the top nine teams in the world in a home and away series.

Thierry Brinkman opened the scoring for the Dutch men in the ninth minute, and was followed in rapid succession by Jonas De Geus and Jip Janssen to give the visitors a 3-0 lead after 14 minutes.

Hugo Inglis hit back for the Black Sticks barely a minute into the second quarter, then added a second in the 28th minute when he flicked home an inch-perfect cross from Kane Russell.

With 30 seconds to go in the quarter, Nick Ross earned the New Zealanders their first penalty corner of the match, Russell drag flicking home to level the game 3-3 at halftime.

Brinkman slammed home what proved to be the decisive goal from a quick long corner in the 44th minute, his powerful reverse shot leaving Black Sticks keeper George Enersen no chance.

The women's match was a tight defensive affair, although both sides had opportunities - the Netherlands managing six clear shots to New Zealand's five.

With neither side able to convert, the scores were level 0-0 at halftime and the stalemate continued for much of the second spell.

However, the Dutch struck first deep into the third quarter, Krekelaar shooting home a well-worked goal to put the Netherlands up 1-0.

The New Zealanders came closest in the final spell, earning a penalty corner when a long ball into the circle was deflected onto the foot of a Netherlands defender.

Brooke Neal stepped in and swept the ball which was initially saved but then found a Black Stick on the rebound and was swept home, only for the goal to be ruled out as New Zealand were deemed to have obstructed the play.