The XXI Commonwealth Games has produced some shock results as well as confirmed some of the pre-tournament predictions. Wales women’s spirited 3-2 win
over India was one such surprise as was India’s own 2-1 win over world number two team England.
In the men’s section, New Zealand and Australia have proved dominant, but the match of the competition so far has to be the high paced razzle-dazzler
between India and Pakistan.
With two days of pool competition left before the tournament swings into placings and the semi-finals, here is a round-up of the results so
far. As expected, things are tight in all the pools and there is till all to play for.
Wales (World Ranking XX) could not have hoped for a better start to their campaign as they beat India (WR:10). New Zealand however,
dashed any Scottish dreams of giant-killing as they slammed six goals past XX in the Blue Stick’s goal.
In the men’s competition, Scotland men put in a cracking performance to beat South Africa 4-2, while Wales men held on to a highly
competitive 1-1 scoreline against Pakistan.
England men got their campaign off to a sparkling start as they put seven goals past Malaysia. New Zealand matched their
women’s side goal for goal as they beat Canada 6-2.
New Zealand women then raised the scoring bar even higher as they put 12 goals past Ghana. This was a special day for
two Black Sticks stalwarts as Stacey Michelsen celebrated 250 caps and Anita McLaren became the first New Zealand
woman to score 100 international goals.
Canada and Scotland played out an intriguing 0-0 draw, although Scotland nearly snatched the game against the run
of play, only to see a goal disallowed.
This was the day that Pakistan and India showcased hockey at its best. The match between the Asian giants
saw India race to a 2-0 lead. This might have proved too much for Pakistan a few months ago but new
head coach Roelant Oltmans has already instilled greater resilience into his team and a penalty corner
in the final minute of the game saw Pakistan draw level and secure a vital point.
In their first game of the tournament, host nation Australia opened their account with a 4-0 win over
The women’s section saw Ghana take another high scoring beating as Australia put five goals away,
including a brace from returning player Jodie Kenny. The other match of the day saw South Africa
fail to make the most of superior possession when they drew 1-1 with a determined Malaysia
England women’s serene journey through the pool matches came to an abrupt halt at the hands
of India. The Asia Cup champions took this match 2-1 after some uncharacteristic poor
finishing by England and some staunch last minute defending by India.
Canada women showed great depths of fighting spirit to hold New Zealand to a 0-0 draw.
The Black Sticks had been scoring at will to this point of the tournament but Canada
are an oburate opposition and there was just no way through for the world number four
Both Australia and New Zealand men hit super sixes as they continued to show fine form.
The host nation thumped six past Scotland, while New Zealand performed a similar
demolition job on South Africa. The other pool saw much closer results as England
drew 2-2 with Pakistan and India squeaked past Wales 4-3.
South Africa won their penultimate pool game with a strong 2-0 win over Wales,
while fellow British competitor Scotland recorded a 5-0 win against Ghana.
England finished their campaign with a 3-0 win over Malaysia, thus securing
a place in the semi-finals.
Over in pool B there was no separating the Oceania giants as New Zealand
and Australia fought tooth and nail but couldn’t find a break through.
The 0-0 scoreline means Australia must beat Scotland in their final
pool match to secure top spot in the pool ahead of the Black Sticks.
With two days of pool competition still to go, there is still a
lot to play for. In the men’s competition, the final day of
pool play is likely to be the most decisive as New Zealand
and Australia meet - in all likelihood to decide the outcome
of pool A, while England and India also have a similar clash
in pool B.
In this competition, the top two teams go to the semi-finals
while the remaining three teams from each pool play against
their corresponding team in the other pool to decide final
placings. Hence fifth place pool A will play fifth place
pool B for ninth/tenth place and so on.
The winners of the semi-finals will contest the gold medal
while the losers will play for bronze.