3-nation Canberra Hockey Tournament: Indian junior women lose 1-2 to Australia but win title on goal difference:The hosts Australia defeated visiting India 2-1 in the final game of the 3-nation Junior Women’s Hockey Tournament at Canberra on Sunday but lost the title to its opponents on goal difference. Despite defeat India was crowned champions as it had a goal difference of plus four against plus 1 of the hosts. Both India and Australia had won two games each and drew one game each and suffered one defeat each in the double match event.
In the final game played on Sunday, all goals were scored on penalty corners. Abigail Wilson turned out to be the heroine of the home team’s triumph with a brace. She scored in the 15th and 56th minutes of the game while Gagndeep Kaur scored the only Indian goal in the 53rd minute.India needed only a draw to win the title with a clean record while Australia needed an outright win with a big margin to upstage India from the top position of the table. India had beaten New Zealand 2-0 and 4-1 besides playing a 1-1 draw against Australia in the earlier games before losing the final game 1-2 to Australia. Australia had lost the opener to New Zealand 1-3 but won the return game 3-1.
Olivia Shannon of New Zealand with three goals (two field goals and 1 penalty corner conversion) emerged as the top scorer while Sharmila Devi and Gagandeep Kaur of India shared the second spot with two goals each. Sharmila scored two field goals while Gagandeep had two conversions , one penalty corner and one penalty stroke.
In the final game, the Indian team lost 1-2 to hosts Australia which saw India’s Gagandeep Kaur score in the 53rd minute to cancel out Abigail Wilson’s strike in the 15th minute. However, the Australian youngster scored yet again in the 56th minute to give her team a 2-1 win.
It was a difficult first period for the Indian team as it was constantly put under pressure by the hosts. The visitors had some chances of their own inside the first 15 minutes but the chance of the first quarter fell to the hosts, who managed to make the most of it. It was in the 15th minute that Australia was awarded a penalty corner, and it was Abigail Wilson who stepped up for the hosts to make it 1-0.
India tried to make up ground in the second quarter, but some resolute defending by the home team meant that the visitors could not equalize inside the second quarter. The Indians had a penalty corner in the 22nd minute, but could not force it on target. Another penalty corner for India in the 26th minute saw Australia’s Hannah Astbury make a diving save to help her team retain its one-goal lead. Two minutes later, Australia had a glorious chance of extending its lead to two goals through a penalty stroke, but India’s goalkeeper Bichu Devi Kharibam made a fine save to keep the score down to 0-1 at the half-time break.
A similar story unfolded in the third quarter with neither side able to score. Both the teams had chances through penalty corners in the third period, but some good defending by both the sides meant that the outcome of the match would be decided in the last period. India had a couple of penalty corners in the third period but were aborted by Australia’s Astbury.
However, the start of the fourth quarter was different for India as it put the hosts under pressure from the start. It resulted in the visitors winning themselves a penalty corner in the 53rd minute. It was India’s Gagandeep Kaur who stepped up to take the execution, and scored past Astbury to equalize for India. But India could not stay on level terms for too long as three minutes later, it was Australia’s Abigail Wilson who scored her second goal of the match through a penalty corner to snatch a 2-1 lead. India tried to equalize for the second time during the remaining four minutes, but could not make the most of its chances as Australia registered a 2-1 win.