Black Sticks women renew rivalry with Argentina in Four-Nations Hockey Tournament in April
New Zealand eves will renew their rivalry with world champions and Olympic silver medalists Argentina when they lock horns with each other during the Four-Nations Women’s Hockey Tournament, which is slated to be held next month.
The Four-Nations Tournament would be a double-leg affair featuring world number two Argentina, eighth ranked Korea and tenth ranked United States. The first leg would be held in Whangarei from April 10 to 14, while the second leg would be held in Hamilton and Tauranga from April 17 to 21.
The Black Sticks would have two different squads in a bid to find the right combination ahead of the coveted FIH Hockey World League semifinals slated to be held in June this year.
The New Zealand women’s hockey side will mark the return to competitive action of experienced Kayla Sharland. The midfielder has made 176 international appearances for the Black Sticks and was part of the 2004 Athens Olympics team.
Sharland took a long break from competition action after the London Olympics and is now on a comeback trail and has been named in both the teams picked by New Zealand women team’s head coach Mark Hager.
She gave the recently held five-match Test series against Argentina held in their own backyard a miss. New Zealand women lost the series 1-2, winning one game and drawing two.
It may be mentioned here that New Zealand eves started their Test series campaign against Argentina on a sorry note, as they were handed a clinical 1-4 defeat by the world champions.
The Black Sticks fought well in the second Test to force a 1-1 draw.
The New Zealand eves brought out their best on the pitch in the third Test when they rattled the Argentinians with a magnificent 4-1 victory. In fact, this was the only third time that the Black Sticks have beaten Argentina in 21 meetings in the last ten years – a win which was to be the only one of the five-match Test series.
The Black Sticks maintained the momentum holding Argentina to a 3-3 draw in the fourth Test – a match they trailed 1-3 at one stage after scoring the opening goal.
Argentina did well to halt the late New Zealand resurgence putting it across them 2-1 in the fifth and final Test.
After the Four-Nations tournaments in April, Black Sticks eves are slated to play three games against England before they travel to Amsterdam in June for the FIH Hockey World League semifinals.