The Black Sticks women head into next week’s Commonwealth Games hockey tournament in good form after taking the Four Nations tournament tile in Dublin on Wednesday, defeating Ireland 3-0 in the final to complete a clean sweep.
New Zealand have been the dominant team during the tournament, winning 9-2 against Ireland, 10-0 against Chile and 7-0 against Canada.
In the final, Krystal Forgesson scored first after some good pressing was followed up by a quality finish to beat the goalkeeper from a shot at the top of the circle. Later in the first half, she scored again to take the score to 2-0 at half time. Canterbury’s Sophie Cocks got the third goal with ten minutes left in the game from a powerful shot at the top of the circle.
Coach Mark Hager said: “Ireland turned out to play, we knew that it was going to be harder than our first game, they created a lot of opportunities. It was a closely contested game and our goal keepers [Sally Rutherford and Bianca Russell] were called on to make a lot of saves, so credit to them that they could keep the Irish scoreless.
“Unfortunately, we were awarded six or seven penalty corners today but we couldn’t convert them. When our penalty corners are on-song it takes a lot of pressure of our team,”
It was also a milestone game for Emily Naylor who played her 250th international test. Naylor, aged 28, became New Zealand’s most capped female hockey player in April this year, overtaking Suzie Muirhead’s long standing record. With a lot of her family and friends at the game today, a presentation was made by Irish Hockey at the end of the game to recognise her significant achievement.
Capital’s Anita Punt who scored an seven goals throughout the week, was named player of the tournament.
The Black Sticks, who are ranked third in the Commonwealth, have a rest day and will then head to the Athletes Village in Glasgow ahead of their first game against Trinidad and Tobago on Friday July 25, 7pm. The Kiwis will also face India, South Africa and Canada in pool play.