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Stiff task for White Sox at world champs

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 14/07/2016

New Zealand face two world women's softball championship newcomers when they open their campaign in Canada this week.

The eighth-ranked White Sox meet Peru in their first pool game at Surrey, near Vancouver, on Friday followed by games on subsequent days against Kenya and ninth-ranked Italy.

The first two opponents are among 11 nations making their debut at a tournament which features an expanded 31 teams.

New Zealand are favoured to be among two teams to advance through the pool phase but will face an uphill struggle from there to break a drought at the biennial tournament which dates back to a lone title in 1982.

Coach Kevin Gettins' team were delivered a reality check at last week's warm-up tournament in Oklahoma City featuring most of the world championship contenders.

They placed eighth after winning two games but losing five, including heavy defeats against two-time defending world champions Japan and fourth-ranked Canada.

Gettins gave all of his squad time to prime them for the nine-day world championship.

The White Sox reached the last eight at the 2014 tournament in the Netherlands but were eliminated in a 3-0 loss to Chinese Taipei.

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