Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Commonwealth Games Hockey: Australia race through gears to oust Scotland 12-0

Birmingham — After three days “sitting around” waiting to play the opening game in the defence of their men’s title, Kookaburras were in no mood for Commonwealth pleasantries. Right on the hooter before their 12-0 victory over Scotland was confirmed, they even went upstairs to check the goal scored by Struan Walker.

The crowd cheered, then jeered as it was confirmed the ball had passed the goal line before the allotted 60 minutes were up. And so, Australia were off and running in some rampant style too.

Blake Govers gripped and ripped a technically brilliant penalty corner across goal and high into the net and Australia never came down from their circle pursuit. 

They were simply ruthless, and little wonder Tommy Alexander, the Scottish goalkeeper, called the result an “arse kicking”. 

The world No 1 side were 3-0 up inside the first quarter and six to the good before the break. Amid the 40 circle penetrations and a high of 105 rolling subs, Jeremy Hayward scored four and there were braces for Tom Wickham, Nathan Ephramus and Tim Brand.

“It’s a hard one because there’s no doubt they’re arguably the best team in the world and we’re a way off that,” admitted Alexander, who had to pull out several more saves (eight) after replacing David Forrester.

“But we never expected to come here and win this game, we have other games that we expect more from. It’s a bit of an arse-kicking but they do it to most people.”

Alexander further opened up on the Aussie mentality after the crowd here witnessed a lesson in circle dominance, angled passing, precise aerials and finishing. 

“They are relentless and they just pushed us on to the back foot a lot today,” he added.

BIRMINGHAM – Commonwealth Games 2022 06 Australia v Scotland (Pool A) Picture: Scottish quartertime huddle with Struan WALKER COPYRIGHT WORLDSPORTPICS ADY KERRY

“They’ve just no remorse, they don’t mind coming here and being the bad guy. They love being a villain and that’s probably why they’re number one.”

Australia last played a major international game at the Olympic final in Tokyo last summer. 

“There are always first-game nerves but I was excited, “said Wickham. “It’s the third day that we’ve been sitting around waiting to play, so it was good to get the first game jitters out of the way and put on a pretty good performance.”

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