Commonwealth Games hockey gets underway with a bang as New Zealand women record huge victory while the men’s side play out remarkable draw with Scotland


New Zealand and Scotland men’s sides played out an incredible 5 all draw in the final game of a day that saw Ghana’s men make their debut in the games against hosts England. Scotland women got their campaign off to a dream start, beating South Africa, while Canada women recorded a comfortable win over Wales. New Zealand’s women were also in action, recording a massive victory over Kenya.

New Zealand 16 Kenya 0 (Pool B women)

Reigning Commonwealth Games champions New Zealand ran riot against a Kenya side making their first appearance at the games.

The first quarter started with a rare Kenya chance, Caroline Guchu missing from a penalty corner. Despite this fast start the Black Sticks women opened the scoring in the 7th minute through Alia Jaques. A penalty corner goal in the 11th minute scored by Stephanie Dickins was followed up by an Olivia Shannon strike just a minute later. The first quarter ended 3-0.

As New Zealand continued to dominate the opening game of the tournament a short penalty stroke was tucked away by Megan Hull in the 18th minute. 7 minutes later Alex Lukin added another goal, before another penalty corner was converted by Dickins for her second of the game. Goals from Shannon and Jaques either side of a penalty corner goal from Hull brought to an end a high-scoring quarter and make the score 9-0 at the half-way stage.

Unfortunately for Kenya the Black Sticks women did not take their foot off the gas and started the second half with a barrage of chances before Frances Davies broke through the Kenyan defence in the 37th minute. Rose Tynan got herself on the scoresheet in the 43rd minute before Shannon added another just before the end of the quarter, leaving the score at 12-0 heading into the final quarter.

A Kaitlin Cotter penalty corner goal got the final 15 underway, with Cotter adding another goal in similar fashion 4 minutes later. Olivia Merry then got herself into the action with a brace, first scoring from a penalty corner in the 53rd minute before adding another goal 3 minutes later. A few chances followed but the game ended in a comprehensive 16-0 win for New Zealand.

Alice Owiti (KEN): “We found it enjoyable, but not easy, as we expected. It’s our first time coming to the Commonwealth Games and it’s a dream come true for us Kenyans.”

South Africa 2 Scotland 4 (Pool B women)

Scotland got off to a great start at the games, registering a 4-2 victory over South Africa.

The first quarter started with a green card for Scotland’s Heather McEwan in the 4th minute, however being a woman down did not seem to faze the Scots who converted a penalty corner through Charlotte Watson 3 minutes later. South Africa did hit back just a minute later with their own penalty corner goal courtesy of Lisa-Marie Deetlefs. South Africa then began to dominate proceedings, squandering multiple chances and receiving their own green card through Onthatile Zulu. With just a minute left of the first quarter South Africa did take the lead, Deetlefs adding another penalty corner goal. This left the score line at 2-1 after the first quarter.

3 minutes into the second quarter Sarah Robertson pulled Scotland back level. A procession of South Africa chances followed, with multiple penalty corner opportunities squandered, as Scotland’s defence stood firm. Hannah Pearce, Bianca Wood and Lilian Du Plessis all had chances but the quarter ended with just the one goal, leaving the score at 2-2 at half time.

Scotland began the 3rd quarter on the front foot, creating a few chances and testing the South African keeper and captain Phumelela Mbande. The pressure told for the Scots who took the lead for the first time in the game in the 32nd minute with a Fiona Burnet goal following a penalty corner. South Africa then began to drag themselves back into the game, with Kristen Paton and Wood having chances saved by Scotland keeper Nicola Cochrane who had been subbed on at the beginning of the quarter. Despite the pressure the score remained at 3-2.

The final quarter of the game which could have swung either way started with chances for both sides, and a green card for Scotland’s Elizabeth Wilson. South Africa took advantage of being a woman up and created a couple of chances through Quanita Bobbs and Bernadette Coston. However, in the 53rd minute Jennifer Eadie wrapped up the victory for Scotland with a goal from a penalty corner. While the Scot’s Becky Ward did pick up a yellow card 2 minutes from time, they held on to win their first match of the games.

Heather McEwan (SCO): “A really good game, tough. We always knew they were going to be very physical and we’ve been prepping for a while now, which means that just to get the first run out there’s a bit of nerves.

“It took us a while to get our flow and then we were ready to go.”

India 5 Ghana 0 (Pool A women)

The Eves got their Commonwealth Games campaign off to a flying start – beating a Ghana side making just their 2nd appearance at the tournament to get Pool A underway.

India got off to a flying start, with Kaur Gurjit firing them ahead in just the 3rd minute following a penalty corner. The Eves continued to create chances while Ghana created little, and suffered a green card to Doris Antwi. Despite efforts from Deep Grace Ekka and Jyoti towards the end of the first quarter it remained 1-0 going into the break.

Ghana appeared to find their feet in the second quarter, creating chances through the likes of Nafisatu Umaru, Elanor Otoo and Elizabeth Opoku, taking advantage of a green card shown to Nikki Pradhan in the 24th minute. However, they didn’t manage to find an equaliser and the ever-dangerous India doubled their advantage through a Neha strike 2 minutes before half time. The score remained at 2-0.

A refreshed India took to the field in the third quarter, as the FIH 9th ranked side began to assert dominance over their 30th ranked opposition, creating multiple openings and forcing a number saves from the Ghanian keeper Abigail Boye. The Eves eventually broke through and scored a quickfire double from Sangita Kumari in the 36th minute and Gurjit’s second of the game in the 39th with a penalty stroke. India’s Neha was given a yellow card right at the end of the third quarter which was the last event of note in the period, with the score line reaching 4-0 heading into the final quarter.

The last period of the game began with more Indian pressure and chances through players like Kaur Navneet and the lively Neha and Gurjit. Martha Sarfoa provided some resistance for Ghana missing a shot in the 52nd minute. A green card was then shown to Ghana’s Racheal Bamfo, and India took advantage of having the extra woman on the field, scoring just a minute later through Salima Tete in the 56th minute. The game ended 5-0 to India, getting their campaign off to a dream start.

Savita (IND): “We improved a lot in the last four years. Now we are just going match by match, and we’ll see.

“After coach Jan (Janneke Schopman) came in we learned on the move, one-to-one skills and attacking hockey. That is our strength.”

Canada 4 Wales 0 (Pool A women)

Canada got off the mark in style in their games opener, defeating Wales in comfortable fashion.

The first quarter started with both sides creating a few chances, Canada’s Natalie Sourisseau with the first effort of note in the 2nd minute. This was followed by a big penalty stroke save by Rowan Harris in the Canada goal, denying Sian French giving Wales the lead. Both sides had another chance in what was a cagey first quarter, with Canada’s Amanda Woodcroft shown a yellow card in the 10th minute. It remained 0-0 after the first period.

Wales started the second quarter on the front foot, with Sarah Jones denied twice by the busy Woodcroft. Despite this it was Canada that took the lead in the 21st minute through a Hannah Haughn strike. Shortly after Wales’s Isabelle Howell and Canada’s Alexis De Armond were shown green cards.  Wales’s Olivia Hoskins had the only other effort of any significance for the rest of the quarter which saw her compatriot Hannah Cozens shown a green card just before half time. Canada got to the break with their 1-0 lead in tact.

Despite an early Wales chance a minute into the second half Canada doubled their lead in the 33rd minute thanks to a Brienne Stairs strike. Wales’s Joanne Westwood was shown a yellow card 9 minutes later, and Canada took advantage of being a woman up by extending their lead to 3-0 through Sara McManus from a penalty corner, following a couple of opportunities being saved. The score line remained 3-0 going into the final quarter.

The final quarter started with some Welsh resistance resulting in Xenna Hughes seeing her effort from a penalty corner saved by Harris in the Canadian goal. Hughes’s teammate Leah Wilkinson was then shown Wales’s second yellow card of the game, before Stairs tucked away her second goal of the game to put the Canadians 4 goals to the good. There was still time for Wales to pick up one more yellow card, this one shown to Sarah Jones.

Hannah Haughn (CAN): “Feels really good, but I think we’re all just excited to be here and to kick off the tournament with a good win.”

England 6 Ghana 0 (Pool B men)

The hosts got kicked started the men’s competition with a bang, wrapping up a 6-0 victory over tournament debutants Ghana.

England, who have won bronze at the last 2 Commonwealth Games, asserted their attacking intent from the off against tournament newbies Ghana, with Nicholas Bandurak looking dangerous and creating himself 3 chances inside the opening minutes. He eventually got the deserved breakthrough in the 8th minute, scoring after a penalty corner to put the hosts ahead. Despite more efforts on goal from the likes of Samuel Ward and Zachary Wallace, the Ghanian defence stood firm, and would have been happy to get to the end of the first quarter trailing by just 1 goal.

The second quarter began in the same fashion, with England creating chance after chance, Phillip Roper, Liam Ansell, Jack Waller, William Calnan, Stuart Rushmere, David Condon and Bandurak all had efforts, but a mixture of dogged Ghanian defending, stunning keeping from Duisberg Offei and off-kilter shooting meant the score line stayed at just 1-0. A determined England eventually doubled their lead in the 27th minute through a Roper strike, before Bandurak grabbed his second and the hosts third of the game at the death of the first half. Just as it seemed the floodgates might open the whistle blew for half time with England 3-0 up.

It was more of the same in the 3rd quarter as England looked to extend their lead. Rushmere had the opening opportunity of the period, seeing his effort saved, before the pressure told and Calnan slotted home to put his side 4-0 to the good in the 39th minute. Bandurak continued to terrorise the Ghanian defence, striking the post and seeing a few chances go begging before securing his hat-trick at his former university in the dying moments of the quarter which saw England head into the final break 5 goals to the good.

Condon was the man to put England 6-0 up 5 minutes into the final quarter following chances from Roper and Ansell. A quieter quarter saw England still create a few opportunities as they saw out the game, however they were given a wake up call in the 54th minute when Ghana’s Ernest Opoku hit the post following a penalty corner. Roper and Ward had efforts before the final whistle but neither were able to convert as the game finished 6-0 to England.

Elikem Akaba (GHA): “Being our first time, clearly we gave everything. [We will be] picking some positives out of it and then building from there into the next game.”

Nicholas Bandurak (ENG): “It’s unbelievable. It’s everything I’ve ever wanted to do. It’s been an amazing few months, so to start the tournament off in this way is really positive and the most important thing is getting three points, and we did that today.”

New Zealand 5 Scotland 5 (Pool B men)

Scotland and New Zealand played out a stunning draw in the closing game of the first day as the Black Sticks men mounted an incredible comeback after falling 5-1 behind, scoring 4 goals in just 8 minutes.

Scotland, who started the game as underdogs, rocked New Zealand inside the first 6 minutes, with Rob Howard putting the Scots ahead early on. A cagey first quarter which saw New Zealand’s Sean Findlay pick up a green card had little in the way of clear cut efforts on goal, defiantly not a sign of what was to come.

Scotland again made a fast start to the quarter, with Callum Mackenzie doubling his sides lead in the 17th minute. Another green card for New Zealand was awarded to David Brydon and the Scots took advantage of the extra man, Jamie Golden stroking home to make the score 3-0 before his brother Cammy Golden then added a 4th in the 24th minute from a penalty corner. A frantic second quarter saw New Zealand pull one back just 2 minutes later, Kane Russell scoring from a penalty corner. Another green card for the Black Sticks courtesy of Jake Smith opened the door for Scotland to put themselves 5-1 to the good via a Jamie Golden penalty corner goal.

The second half of the contest began with a Struan Walker chance for Scotland, however New Zealand somehow began to wrestle the momentum back, seeing multiple chances from the likes of Hayden Phillips, Smith and Russell blocked and saved as the Scots defence remained firm. Sam Lane eventually broke through the stubborn Scotland in the 43rd minute, making the score 5-2, with New Zealand still facing a mountain to climb to rescue anything from the tie.

Attempting to save the game, New Zealand began the final quarter without a goalkeeper, and utilising the extra outfield player Smith fired home from a penalty corner just a minute into the final period. Scotland having once sat comfortably at 5-1 were now on the ropes, trying to repel attack after New Zealand attack. Hugo Inglis tucked home in the 49th minute before Sam Hiha fired in as the Black Sticks produced a comeback for the ages. They weren’t done there either, smelling blood they went for the win, with Hiha, Findlay and Russell all having a go at grabbing a winner. A stunned Scotland did just enough to hold on and claim a point.

Day 2 preview:

Tomorrow morning at 9:00 South Africa’s men take to the field for the first time at the games, taking on Pakistan in Pool A. That match is followed by Canada vs Wales in Pool B at 11:00.

Over in the women’s competition Australia take on Kenya in Pool B in the first match of the afternoon at 14:00, while Ghana are in action against hosts England in Pool A at 16:00.

The evening session starts with India vs Wales in Pool A action at 19:00, with the final game of the day seeing New Zealand take on Scotland in Pool B at 21:00.

To view complete match schedule click here for the men’s event and here for the women’s event.

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

29 July 2022 Result’s Women’s Competition

Match #1

New Zealand 16 Kenya 0 (Pool B women)

Umpires: Rachel Williams (GBR) Lelia Sacre (CAN) Aleisha Neumann (AUS-video)

Match #2

South Africa 2 Scotland 4 (Pool B women)

Umpires:  Hannah Harrison (GBR) Cathy Wright (GBR) Cookie Tan (SGP-video)

Match #3

India 5 Ghana 0 (Pool A women)

Umpires: Wanri Venter (RSA) Katrina Turner (NZL) Aleisha Neumann (AUS-video)

Match #4

Canada 4 Wales 0 (Pool A women)

Umpires: Amber Church (NZL) Binish Hayat (PAK) Cookie Tan (SGP-video)

29 July 2022 Result’s Men’s Competition

Match #1

England 6 Ghana 0 (Pool B men)

Umpires: Tim Bond (NZL) Ilanggo Kanabathu (MAS) Sean Rapaport (RSA-video)

Match #2

New Zealand 5  Scotland 5

Umpires: Tyler Klenk (CAN) Peter Obalo Kabaso (KEN) Deepak Chandra Joshi (IND-video)

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