Friday, August 19, 2022

Women’s Hockey World Cup: Australia rally to snatch bronze from Germany

Terrassa — Germany’s coach Valentin Altenburg had vowed to move Die Danas away from the ‘self-fulfilling prophecies’ that they are only defeated when ‘they are on the bus’. Instead, Australia took the mantle with a final quarter surge when Steph Kershaw notched a late double to win bronze for the Hockeyroos.

Kershaw, the 27-year-old Queenslander, scored two in seven minutes as Australia came from behind after Lena Micheel’s well-taken first quarter opener to dent Germany’s first medal hunt since 1998 and overturn their own disappointment at finishing fourth at London 2018.

Once again Australia were indebted to player of the match Jocelyn Bartram for keeping the Roos in this bronze medal match. Only this time, she inspired Australia to crawl over the line. “A couple of those saves I honestly double checked at the board as they were amazing,” said a buoyant Amy Lawton, British-born but a Hockeyroo since 2019.

Germany had started their final Terrassa encounter as they did against Argentina when Nike Lorenz, who missed her shoot-out with her last shot in the semi-final, entered the circle before Bartram stemmed the danger brilliantly.

Pockets of space were certainly on offer here, although circle penetration came at a premium throughout, and there was enough for Micheel to run from a direct pass from the right and beat Bartram. A deserved 14th-minute lead.

An open encounter, Germany were through on goal in the third quarter before Kaitlin Nobbs’ superb diving interception. Rosie Malone then forced a fine save from Nathalie Kubalski.

Kubalski’s opposite number then kept up her 24-hour heroics with Pia Maertens certain to score before Bartrams’ stick came to the rescue. She did the same with an outstretched stick with a German PC at the start of the fourth, too.

With 11 minutes left, Kershaw saw an opening with four German defenders in the circle, a turn to the right and she beat Kubalski’s outstretched boot. 

Rosie Malone strikes on goal for the Hockeyroos PIC: WORLDSPORTPICS/ RODRIGO JARAMILLO

A minute later back up field and Maertens was again denied after an angled run across goal and a backhand which Bartram gloved away.

The Australian press then left Argentina scampering five minutes from time when a reverse hit from Claire Colwill on the left of the circle reached Kubalski but Kershaw was on hand to turn in. It was only fitting that Australia were able to bat away a last-ditch German chance as the hooter sounded and players rejoiced around Bartram.

“We look at the Hockeyroos history a lot and Trinny is a massive part of that as part of the ‘golden girls’ generation,” Lawton added of her gilded coach Katrina Powell.

“This win is massive and a big step in the right direction in the next few years.”

Australia will next head on their near three-month long European trip to Birmingham where they will be vying to regain the Commonwealth title. But first to the bus back to their Terrassa hotel for welcome celebrations.

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