New Zealand draw test series with world champions Argentina

New Zealand women have drawn their home hockey test series against world champions Argentina. The Black Sticks 2-1 win in the third test levelled the series at 1-1 with one draw.

Tuesday night’s win  was a major turnaround from the second test the day before, which finished 6-1 in favour of the visiting las Leonas.

With two Olympic hockey qualifying places allocated to Oceania, and New Zealand to play Australia for that title, the Blacksticks will definitely be at London 2012.Key Argentine players, including world player of the year Luciana Aymar, are on sabbatical at the moment but the series results indicate the up-and-coming New Zealanders should not be underestimated in the Olympic tournament.

The Black Sticks women’s next major international competition is the Champions Trophy in Amsterdam at the end of June, where England and Australia will also compete.

The third test, played at North Harbour, was won with second-half goals from Clarissa Eshuis and Cathryn Finlayson. The win was built on the back of a fine defensive and goalkeeping display from the Kiwis, with Sally Rutherford exceptional between the posts.

Daniela Sruoga scored Argentina’s goal from a PC variation to level the scores after Eshuis’ PC goal. Finlayson’s winner came in the final minute from open play.

The match was a tribute to ex Black Stick Amanda Hooper (nee Christie) who lost her life when the Pyne Gould Corporation Building collapsed in the Christchurch earthquake. The collection from the crowd at half time raised over $1,300, which will be gifted to her family.