Jr hockey world cup: England edge Ireland in thriller; big wins for Germany, USA, Netherlands

Potchefstroom (South Africa), April 2 (IANS) England survived some anxious moments to grab three points while Germany, the United States and the Netherlands scored big wins at the FIH Hockey Womens Junior World Cup here on Saturday.

The day closed as England edged Ireland 2-1 thanks to a brilliant goal from Vicki McCabe while in Pool A play, the USA found their footing through a four-goal performance from Hope Rose to take care of Zimbabwe 5-0. The Netherlands secured their spot in the Top 8 with a casual 11-0 victory over Canada thanks to a five-goal performance from Jip Dicke while Germany dominated from start to finish to charge to the top of Pool D after a 10-0 win over Malaysia. Aina Kresken scored three goals in the opening half, while Lilly Stoffelsma had a two-goal performance.

Vicki McCabe’s spectacular finish in the third quarter was the game-winner that gave England the 2-1 win over Ireland in a feisty and end-to-end match-up in Pool B. The game came right down to the final seconds as Ireland tried to claw their way back to tie it up. The England defensive penalty corner unit stood the test to protect the lead.

The Irish opened the scoring in just the fourth minute of play. Irish captain Caoimhe Perdue’s low sweep towards goal took a touch off a charging Millie Giglio to lift Ireland up 1-0. I’eland’s Katie-Jane Marshal’s foul on forward Maddie Axford resulted in a penalty stroke, converted by England captain Millie Giglio to level the game 1-1.

Despite the Irish pressure in the second half, England had a brilliant counterattack play and Mad’ie Long’s pass slipped through the Irish midfield. McCabe raced down the field and in a diving finish, buried the ball perfectly on her backhand to give England the much-needed 2-1 lead. The momentum continued to swing back and forth and Giglio set up another chance for England but the strike was well cleared by the boot of keeper Holly Micklem.

Germany on the rise

Germany dominated the match as Kresken opened the scoring just six minutes in as she calmly collected and finished a rebound off’Siti Nasir’s boot. Almost identical to her first goal, Kresken finished a ball from Verena Neumann to double Germany’s lead. The striker’s third goal came off a far post deflection after a brilliant ball in from Stine Kurz. Germany had seven penalty corners in the first two quarters and Lilly Stoffelsma’s low flick finally capitalized on the final one to make it 4-0 at halftime.

Jette Fleschütz and Sara Strauss both scored to make it 6-0 for Germany. Stoffelsma tallied the highlight goal of the game as her individual skills in the Malaysian circle opened her up for a brilliant backhand shot that rippled the top of the ne’ for Germany’s seventh goal. Player of the Match Julie Bleuel found the back of the net off a bouncing strike in the 47th minute and Neumann curled and fired between the legs of Nasir’for the game’s ninth goal. Sophia Schwabe’s touch off a bouncing pass from Julia Hemmerle provided the game’s 10th goal and made Germany the first team to reach double digits in the tournament.

The USA dominate Zimbabwe

A dominating scoring performance from Hope Rose in the final two quarters propelled the United States a 5-0 over Zimbabwe despite just a 1-0 lead at halftime.

The United States had several rushes of attack, but the composed Zimbabwe defence made it very challenging. The USA had a series of unconverted penalty corners including a great save by keeper Jenna Mathieson on the USA forward Emma Deberdine. Finally, the deadlock broke after Ashley Sess’s cross was brilliantly deflected out of the air by the stick of Charlotte de Vries in the 23rd minute.

Some quality right-side attack allowed Rose to deflect in a ball from Deberdine to make it 2-0 in the 39th minute. A turnover pass from Zimbabwe defender Gugulethu Sibanda gave the Americans the space for a give-and-go play from Riley Donnelly to Rose for the third goal. Rose thought she tallied her third deflecting a penalty corner delivery from Caroline Ramsey.

The ball hit the foot of Sibanda on the line and Rose converted the penalty stroke to indeed complete the hat trick. Ramsey and Rose’did connect on the game’s final goal as the clinical penalty corner set-piece saw a sliding Rose bury the fifth and final goal of the game, the FIH said in a release on Saturday.

Four goals from Player of the Match Jip Dicke provided the Netherlands with another casual victory, this time 11-0 over Canada, for the Netherlands in Pool A play. Luna Fokke continued her dominance from penalty corners and had a hat trick in the match.

Mette Winter opened the scoring in the fifth minute as she collected and fired a ball in from Marleen Jochems down the ‘ight side. Josephine Murray’s pass from the right baseline was superbly deflected in on the run by Dicke to double the Dutch lead. Fokke’s penalty corner flick made it 3-0, while second-quarter deflections from each of Teuntje de Wit and Tessa Beetsma made it 5-0 at halftime.

Fokke and Dicke each scored off drag flicks on the next two Dutch penalty corners, while Dicke finished on her backhand minutes later to tally her t’ird of the match and the team’s eighth goal. Despite the sco’e continuing to run up Canada’s Allison Kuzyk earned her side their lone penalty corner late in the third q’arter. Captain Melanie Scholz’s strike was booked for the stick of Friday’s goal scorer Stefanie Sajko at the far post, but the ball skipped wide of the post.

In the final quarter, Dicke tapped in a pass from Teuntje de Wit to lift the Netherlands up 9-0. Tessa Beetsma curled and buried a ball from close range to send her team in to double-digits, up 10-0 in the 52nd minute. Fokke buried one more penalty corner to make the final tally 11-0.

–IANS

bsk