The Kookaburras remain unbeaten at the 2018 Champions Trophy in Breda, Netherlands, after defeating India 3-2 in a nail biting performance on Wednesday night.
A frenzy of first quarter goals from Lachlan Sharp, Tom Craig and Indian player Varun Kumar set the tone for Wednesday’s intense game. The Kookaburras looked good heading into the fourth term off the back of a Trent Mitton goal. But the pressure filled match went down to the wire as India converted off a corner penalty in the dying seconds, bringing the score to where it would finish at 3-2.
Trent Mitton’s third quarter goal brings his tally for the 2018 champions Trophy up to three, having scored a field goal in each of Australia’s matches. His attacking form will be vital as the undefeated Kookaburras head into Friday morning’s match against home-side the Netherlands.
Kookaburras Coach Colin Batch was buoyed by the work of his defensive group after the match.
“The back group has been solid all of the time, we’ve had good contribution from our deep defenders. Our penalty corner defence was very strong today which is important against India because they have some quality there.
“Tyler Lovell has played all three games for us and he’s been playing consistently well…we’ve been pretty good with our corner defence throughout the tournament, it’s something the boys really pride themselves on.” Said Batch.
Looking to tomorrow’s clash with the Netherlands, Batch says maintaining possession will be vital.
“It’s a basic thing but if we’ve got possession of the ball and maintain it and not give it back in turnover situations that’ll be a key part of the game.”
The Kookaburras found their first goal through Lachlan Sharp in the fifth minute of the match. The goal came after Co-captain Eddie Ockenden created space in the D with some fancy footwork before finding an open Sharp for the goal. India answered through Varun Kumar in the 11th minute after he scored off of a missed penalty corner trap.
The final goal for the first term came through a strong strike by Jeremy Hayward which was deflected into the path of Tom Craig who put the Kookaburras up 2-1 heading into the second term.
The second quarter failed to see a goal scored by either side despite a myriad of opportunities. At the conclusion of the first half, Manpreet Singh was issued a yellow card which left India with only ten players on the field for the first five minutes of the third quarter.
Just moments into the third quarter Trent Mitton scored via a fantastic pass through traffic from Tom Craig, Mitton was able to deflect a field goal through to the back of the net, pushing Australia’s lead out to 3-1.
It wasn’t until the 58th minute of the match when the next goal was scored by India after they elected to pull their goalkeeper. Harmanpreet Singh was able to convert from the third of three consecutive Indian penalty corners leading to a stressful final few moments.
Despite some pressure filled possessions and a potential injury to Flynn Ogilvie who caught a stick to the ribs in the final three minutes of the match, Australia was able to hold onto to their lead and remain undefeated at the 2018 Champions Trophy.
The Kookaburras next match is against the Netherlands at 3:30am AEST on Friday morning.
Australia 2 (Sharp 5’, Craig 15’, Mitton 30’)
New Zealand (Varun 10’, H. Singh 58’)