After trailing the Hockeyroos for most of the match, it was Canterbury’s Olivia Merry that found the equaliser for the Black Sticks Women’s Hockey side to win the Oceania Cup and book their place at next years Tokyo Olympics.
Fellow cantab Rachel McCann had the chance to level the match midway through the fourth quarter, but the pass from Sam Charlton slid past the HSOB/Burnside strikers stick. And with time ticking down and the kiwis needing to draw the match at a minimum to automatically qualify for Tokyo, the Black Sticks pressed forward to find Merry who slugged it straight into the back of the net.
Merry wrote on social media, ‘This one truly means a lot’.
Black Sticks Coach Graham Shaw commented “The game was ugly at times, but the team dug in and was able to stick together to get a fantastic result”.
“We have been reflecting on our performances recently and have come together and managed to perform as a team when it counted the most. We are so glad to get the win and it’s an amazing feeling” Shaw added.
Having won the first game of the three games series 3-1 before Australia won game two 3-2, New Zealand only needed a draw to win the Oceania Cup on goal difference.