Rain plays spoilsport at 3rd women’s Hockey World League Round 2 tourney in Valencia
The opening match of the day between Belarus and Czech Republic did get underway. Ryta Batura struck early as 21st ranked Belarus seemed to be calling the shots against the 37th ranked Czech Republic, who suffered two defeats in their first two matches.
Just as both teams were settling down, a steady downpour led to a suspension of the match with only 24 minutes played in the opening stanza.
Belarus have impressed many in this tournament. They sprang the major upset of the tournament when they stunned world number 14 Ireland with two second half strikes after both teams fought tooth and nail for a goalless first half.
The side have shown that they never like to throw in the towel. In their opening game against world number 17 Italy, Belarus were down 0-2 but fought back gallantly to level the scorline 2-2, pushing the contest into a penalty shootout.
It’s a different matter altogether that they lost the penalty shootout 1-3.
Czech Republic, on their part, haven’t done anything to show they are a side which should be placed above their current world ranking of 37.
They kickstarted their third women’s Hockey World League Round 2 campaign on a disastrous note, going tamely 1-4 to fancied Ireland.
But the home crowd hasn’t been disappointed at all by world number 15 Spain, who played to the galleries thumping Czech Republic 6-0 in their opening match.
The Spanish eves straightaway hit the groove and sounded the board in the first fifteen minutes of play, almost taking their opponents by the scruff of the neck.
World number Italy have looked good only in patches, squandering a 2-1 half-time lead against Belarus before huffing and puffing their way to a 3-1 penalty shootout victory.
This Round 2 tournament features five teams and save for Czech Republic, all four teams have looked good to make it to the World Hockey League semifinals.
On paper, Ireland and Spain are tipped as favourites to make the semifinal cut, but the fighting spirit Belarus have exhibited now makes them one of the favourites to make it to the semis. Italy, on paper, are definitely a strong contender but they have to pull up their socks in the coming matches.
Belarus will now play the remainder of their match against Czeck Republic at 10 am local time on Saturday, while Spain take on Italy at 12 noon.