England defeated New Zealand on penalties to stay on track for a first Commonwealth Games gold medal for women’s hockey. Isabelle Petter and Hannah Martin scored in the shootout when goalkeeper Maddie Hinch refused to be beaten with a series of brilliant saves and then claimed they loved penalties.
The sides could not be separated in 60 intense minutes, playing a goalless draw that was a repeat of Australia’s bronze medal match four years ago when New Zealand won on penalties. The Black Sticks also defeated England 3-1 at the World Cup last month.
In Sunday’s final, England will face Australia, who defeated India 3-0 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in the later game at the University of Birmingham.
The opening trade was played at breakneck speed with chances on both sides. Giselle Ansley drove wide from an English penalty corner, but Hinch was soon the busier goalkeeper. Hinch made a clever double-save and had to be alert again after England handed the ball to Tessa Jopp.
Holly Hunt came close for the hosts and Sophie Hamilton sent a fierce cross but there was no one to convert. But the first half was a messy affair.
Hinch remained a solid barrier to fend off two New Zealand penalty corners in the third quarter. England took command in the final quarter and Ansley was denied from successive penalty corners, while captain Hollie Pearne-Webb saw a follow-up attempt saved by Grace Ohanlon. Anna Toman also saw her attempt pushed out and Shona McCallin went wide as neither side could find a way through.
Five tries went begging in the shootout before Petter converted and when Martin’s effort trickled over the line, England came within one victory breaking their Commonwealth Games gold medal duck.
Afterwards, Hinch said: This is fairytale for us, to come here and be in the final. This is a very important step for us to believe.
Asked about punishments, she added: I absolutely love it. You have to, you know it’s going to be a tough gig. Often you pluck the ball out of the net, it’s pretty relentless. These are the moments to show the position. I try to inspire people to wear these weird outfits and be the hero for a few minutes.
Australia booked their place in the final amid controversy and won the penalty shootout against India 3-0 after Rosie Malone was able to recapture her missed attempt.
After the game ended 1-1, Malone took the first shot of the shootout, but saw her effort saved, but was given a second chance as the eight-second countdown on the scoreboard was off. She scored on her second try, before teammates Kaitlin Nobbs and Amy Lawton followed when Hockeyroos goalkeeper Aleisha Power knocked out India.
When they called the rematch, I thanked the universe for a second chance, Malone said. I said to myself: I have a second chance for this, I am not missing it. I felt for India, but our other girls got our shots in, so it’s not like that one shootout was the end.
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