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Comm Games Update

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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.
 
Day One
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.

 

Day Two
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.

 

Day Three
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 South Africa.
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 side.

 

Day Four
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 side.
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.

 

Day Five
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.

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