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Second win for Black Sticks

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 3/04/2016

Gemma Flynn scored a brace for the Black Sticks as they downed China 3-1 for their second win of the Hawke's Bay Cup eight nations women's hockey tournament in Hastings on Sunday.

The New Zealanders fought back from a goal down after fifth-ranked China took the lead late in the first quarter, Meiyu Liang slamming home from a deflection following quick work down the right from Qian Yu.

However, it took the Black Sticks just over 30 seconds of the second quarter to level the scores.

Defender Stacey Michelsen forced the turnover, sparking a sweeping move downfield for Sophie Cocks's cross to be nudged home by Flynn on the far post.

Anita Punt had the chance to double the score three minutes later after New Zealand were awarded a penalty stroke.

But Korean keeper Dongxiao Li's sharp save denied Punt, and the scores remained level at halftime.

New Zealand regained the lead with less than four minutes of the third quarter remaining, Flynn finding enough space on the baseline to fire in the cross which Cocks deflected home.

Merry and Cocks's sharp combination barely 60 seconds into the final quarter set up Flynn's second goal, after Michelsen again forced the turnover with some sterling defensive work.

New Zealand opened their campaign on Saturday with a scratchy 1-0 win over India, a goal to Olivia Merry 25 seconds into the second quarter proved the difference.

Earlier on Sunday, Japan had proven too strong for 19th-ranked Canada, scoring three goals in each half to rack up a 6-2 win.

World No.3 Australia, who opened their tournament with a lacklustre 1-1 draw against Japan, were more efficient on Sunday in dispatching South Korea 2-0 courtesy of goals from Georgie Parker and Grace Stewart.

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