The Vantage Black Sticks Men took to the turf for the first match of their European Leg of the FIH Pro League, the New Zealand Men were hoping that a change in scenery might bring a change in fortune as they took on one of the strongest sides in world hockey in the Netherlands Men.
The Netherlands Men have been held to a 0-0 draw with the Black Sticks Men in what was a highly entertaining match where both sides had some significant goalscoring opportunities.
The Netherlands had the majority of possession with 57% and circle entries with a 32 to 15 advantage.
The draw was the third for the Vantage Black Sticks Men in the 2019 FIH Pro League. The Netherlands would get the bonus point in the penalty shootout 3-2.
The Black Sticks Men started the game confidently and had the first penalty corner of the match when Hugo Inglis managed to weave some magic dribbling skills in the circle.
Kane Russell stepped up for the drag flick, however the Dutch goalkeeper Sam Van Der Ven pulled off a good foot save to deny Russell.
Nick Ross late in the first quarter had a fantastic opportunity when he powered a shot towards goal in the air, Van Der Ven pulled off another good save to keep the match scoreless.
At the end of the first quarter neither side was able to get themselves onto the score sheet.
The Netherlands had the first good opportunity of the second quarter when they earned a penalty corner off a stunning baseline dribble.
Dane Lett ran down the penalty corner flick to ensure that the Netherlands were kept scoreless.
Despite some enterprising end to end play in the first half, both sides couldn’t find space in the circle and we ended a scoreless first half.
The third quarter started the same way that the first two had as both sides were able to get into the opposition third of the field but were struggling to construct any significant scoring chances.
The Netherlands ramped up the pressure on the New Zealand Men as the quarter wore constructing some significant chances, the kiwi defence was scrambling well and continually denied them.
The Dutch side continued to apply significant pressure on the New Zealand team as they went close on several opportunities early in the final quarter.
With five minutes to go in the match the Netherlands had an outstanding opportunity off a turnover on the New Zealand circle edge. George Enersen pulled off an incredible save to deny the Netherlands side.
The match would end in a 0-0 draw and head into a penalty shootout.