Kookaburras win inaugural International Festival
The Kookaburras have won the inaugural International Festival of Hockey against the New Zealand Black Sticks this evening, winning the final 3-1 with goals from Trent Mitton, Chris Bausor and Jeremy Hayward.
The first quarter was action packed with the Kookaburras having the opportunity, but narrowly missing several shots on goal with one from Jake Whetton so close it hit the post much to the dismay of the crowd.
Quarter time came with a nil – all score after the Aussies continually pressed the Black Sticks. Going into the second quarter and Trent Mitton celebrating his 100th cap, made a break for goal but the Black Sticks managed to rally their defence and avoid giving the Kookaburras the lead.
The time came for Mitton though, as he made a powerful reverse flick which sailed into the top right of the net giving the Kookaburras the advantage going into the half time break.
The Kookaburras continued to push with their attack, and at the 37th minute Dylan Wotherspoon made a shot for goal that went wide, with Chris Bausor laying it all on the line to slide across the pitch and tap the ball in to goal.
Th Black Sticks came back in the final quarter knowing they had some work to do and pressing the Kookaburras. They were rewarded with a penalty corner goal from Kane Russell with twelve minutes left on the clock.
With only a minute to go in the match, Kieran Govers made an excellent tackle to steal the ball back from the Black Sticks in the Australian circle. Govers passed to Jeremy Hayward at the top of the circle, whose powerful reverse flick hit the top middle of the net and secured the 3 – 1 win for the Kookaburras.
Kookaburras interim head coach Paul Gaudoin said: “It was a pleasing win at the end of a pretty tough tournament. I think we’ve learned an awful lot over the last two or three weeks as a young developing group and to be able to play in a final, with the pressure of a final, and perform and win was excellent for the group.
“There are a couple of changes that will be made in the squad for Bendigo, but we’re looking forward to another opportunity to grow and have a look at some young players.”
The Kookaburras Dylan Wotherspoon was announced as the Player of the Tournament, while India’s Rupinder Pal Singh was the leading goal scorer.
The Kookaburras wore ‘Fair go, sport!’ rainbow coloured socks during the match to support equality in sport, and to promote safe and inclusive sporting environments by promoting awareness and understanding of sexuality and gender diversity.
Earlier in the day India defeated Malaysia 4 -1 to take out third position, with goals from Rupinder Pal Singh, Raghunath Vokkaliga, Talwinder Singh and Akashdeep Singh.
The Kookaburras and India now head to Bendigo for a two-game test which takes place on Tuesday 29 and Wednesday 30 November.
News Source: Hockey Australia
Men’s Match Details:
Kookaburras 3 – Trent Mitton 24 (FG), Chris Bausor 37 (FG), Jeremy Hayward 59 (FG)
New Zealand 1 – Kane Russell 48 (PC)
Half Time: Kookaburras 1-0