Australia win International Hockey Open
3 April 2017
HOCKEY: In a nail-biting final test at the Darwin International Hockey Open, the Australian men's hockey team have won the series and the match with a 5 – 3 victory over Pakistan in a game that was packed with action from the very first minute of play.
Pakistan came to the final match of the International Hockey Open determined, and were paid for that determination by scoring the first of the game with a field goal from Abu Mahmood.
The Kookaburras were not having it, and only seconds later had a penalty corner opportunity. It was Kiran Arunasalam who scored the penalty corner to tie the match back up – his first goal as a Kookaburra.
The action continued with captain Mark Knowles awarded a penalty stroke in the tenth minute of play which he easily knocked into the bottom left of the net past goalkeeper Amjad Ali.
Coming into the second quarter, the lead changed hands again, with a double from Pakistan thanks to Muhammad Umar Bhutta and Abu Mahmood which took the score to AUS 2 – 3 PAK.
In the final minute of play for the half, Trent Mitton scored a field goal from directly in front of the net despite the best efforts of Amjad Ali who threw himself into trying to save the goal.
The third quarter was relatively quiet until the 42nd minute when a quick play down the field saw the ball in the Australian circle where Aaron Kleinschmidt knocked in a sneaky field goal to regain the lead for Australia.
In the final minute of play, a superb piece of team work saw Matt Dawson and Josh Pollard work the ball down to the Kookaburras circle before Flynn Ogilvie made a tricky aerial flick that soared into goal, leaving the final score at AUS 5 – 3 PAK.
Kookaburras head coach Colin Batch said: “I think tonight was the best game of the series, Pakistan certainly brought the game alive with their attacking structure which they’re renowned for. They had a lot of run in their legs which challenged us in deep defence.
“Twice we had to come from behind tonight, so there are some good lessons for us there. We’ve grown a lot, we’ve tried some different things and we take all of that forward to Azlan Shah, but I’m very pleased with our progress in these four matches.”
The Kookaburras will next take part in the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia at the end of April.
KOOKABURRAS 5 (3)
Kiran Arunasalam 4 (PC)
Mark Knowles 10 (PS)
Trent Mitton 30 (FG)
Aaron Kleinschmidt 42 (FG)
Flynn Ogilvie 60 (FG)
PAKISTAN 3 (3)
Abu Mahmood 4, 23 (FG, FG)
Muhammad Umar Bhutta 21 (FG)