FIH Pro League: Dutch blitzkrieg demolishes Aussies men
Hockey is fast becoming a game of beautiful uncertainties. Teams with clean finish keep surprises up their sleeves and invariably demolish their higher ranked opponents.
The Netherlands reiterated its supremacy over Australia with a splendid win besides proving that its win in the 2018 Odisha Men’s Hockey World Cup in Bhubaneswar in December last year was no fluke. Trailing 2-5 till the 47th minute against former World Cup and Olympic champions Australia, the Dutch in a 13-minute blitzkrieg not only wiped out the lead but went on to win the penalty shootout in style, with a 4-1 margin, to gain a bonus point.
The game had the spectators on the edge of their seats with a tall scoring encounter that saw some brilliant field scoring chances getting converted. Of 10 goals scored during the run of play, nine came from field scoring and only one from a penalty corner. There could not be a greater spectator delight to see world’s top two teams getting locked in a titanic battle of making use of opportunities created through their fine team work, cohesive movements and some pleasing hockey.
In the women’s section, the hosts, however, drew some consolation with a solitary goal win over the Dutch. The all important goal came in the 21st minute through the stick of Jane Claxton.
The men’s game was the toast of the crowd. After playing Odisha World Cup semi-finals in December last year, it was the first encounter between two giants playing different brands of hockey. The Aussies still play a blend of traditional South Asian and its own power hockey while the Dutch continue to excel with its brand of hit, run and drag hockey.
It may be unprecedented or a record of sorts that all 10 goals were scored by different players. Ten goal scorers in a regular 60-minute play may have come as a pleasant surprise in contemporary hockey.
If Tom Craig (3rd minute), Tim Brand (13th minute) Eddie Ockenden (17th minute), Trent Milton (23rd minute) and Lathian Sharp (35th minute) were the scorers for the hosts, the visiting Dutch also five different goal scorers.
After Tim Craig had given the home team 1-0 lead in the 3rd minute, Mirco Pruijser restored parity a minute later. Australia pumped in three more goals to make the score look impressive 4-2 by the time the teams broke for the breather as Jeroen Hertzberger had pulled one back in the 29th minute to make the score look little respectable for the World Cup Silver medalists.
The second half clearly belonged to the Dutch as they took command of the game, created gaps and openings and scored thrice in the last 13 minutes to end the game on even terms.
In the resultant penalty shootout, the Dutch scored four times against one by the hosts to earn a bonus point.
– PTC NEWS