Australia was first out of the blocks and that proved decisive in their third round match against Japan at the Vantage Hawke’s Bay Festival of Hockey being played in Hastings, New Zealand.
Japan was unbeaten coming into the match while Australia had recorded draws against New Zealand and USA.
Japan was forced to do most of the defending early in the first quarter and the deadlock was broken in the eighth minute when Australian striker Jordyn Holzberger scored a field goal with a reverse stick shot.
Australia continued to push forward and two minutes later made the lead two, when Madi Ratcliffe found the goal.
Japan pushed hard during the second half winning a number of penalty corners. In the 46th minute a shot from one of those penalty corners was blocked by the Australian keeper but captain Hazuki Yuda was on hand to slap it into the goal to make the score 2 – 1.
Japan were back in the game and continued to attack strongly in the final few minutes but Australia survived to take their first win of the 2017 tournament.
Japan will stay at the top of the points table after three rounds but Australia has closed to within a point after tonight’s win.
The top two teams after round robin play will compete for the Vantage Hawke’s Bay Cup on Sunday 9th April (NZ time)
Half time score Australia 2 Japan 0
Final score Australia 2 (Jordyn Holzberger, Madi Ratcliffe) Japan 1 (Hazuki Yuda)