Ward hat-trick seals emphatic GB victory in FIH Pro League
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Ward hat-trick seals emphatic GB victory in FIH Pro League

08 February 2019 / 12:23

Sam Ward scored the first ever hat-trick in the FIH Pro League as Great Britain romped to a 6-2 victory over New Zealand at Nga Puna Wai Hockey Stadium in Christchurch.

Phil Roper bagged a double and newly-assigned captain Adam Dixon chipped in with his third goal of the competition to keep GB top of the league after their second game.

They have now scored six in both of their opening matches in the newly established league, having come from behind to beat Spain 6-5 in Valencia.

Ward got the ball rolling after 18 minutes after a goalless first quarter, before Roper and Dixon fired in two goals in less than a minute to put GB instantly into the driving seat.

The visitors were then 5-0 up after 40 minutes thanks to Ward and Roper grabbing their second goals of the day, before New Zealand finally hit back with two goals in quick succession from Nic Woods and Hugo Inglis.

But all hopes of a Kiwi comeback were quelled when Ward completed his treble on 46 minutes to maintain Great Britain’s 100% record in the competition so far.

 

They face World No. 2 Australia on Saturday at 7:30am, and skipper Dixon is full of confidence after their emphatic opening victories.

"It's been a great start to the competition,” said the 32-year-old defensive midfielder.

“With a bit more time between games now we can take each match at full steam and peak for each weekend with our approach and tactics. It's paid off for us so far!

"Winning breeds a winning mentality, this tournament allows us to come with a different approach and it's very exciting."

The women’s team were not so fortunate in their opening encounter in the FIH Pro League against New Zealand, suffering a 5-1 defeat having drawn level early on.

Olivia Merry broke the deadlock for the Kiwis, before Giselle Ansley hit back for Great Britain through a penalty stroke 11 minutes in.

It remained a tight affair until the break, with Ella Gunson giving the hosts a slender 2-1 lead.

But the Black Sticks of New Zealand turned on the style in the third quarter, with Merry scoring her second and third before the 50-minute mark.

Amy Robinson added a fifth to conclude proceedings in Christchurch as GB look to bounce back away to Australia on Saturday 16 February.

Sportsbeat 2019

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