Underwater Hockey Teams make World Champs Finals
New Zealand Underwater Hockey Teams make World Champs Finals
The New Zealand Men's Underwater Hockey Team booked its place in the world champs final in Sheffield, England on Saturday with a strong victory over the heavily favoured Australian side, 4-2.
The game between the traditional rivals was finely balanced throughout. New Zealand looked to have gained a decisive lead at half time going into the break 3-1 up, but Australia remained in touch with a second goal, while two New Zealanders were cooling off in the sin bin. Despite the Australian fight back, the New Zealand Team held its nerve and closed the game out with a late goal and some strong defence.
Captain Liam Watson said the "game was a good result over the Team's traditional rivals and showed how far the Team had progressed over the course of the world champs. The side would now refocus its attention on beating the experienced Dutch side in the final on Saturday".
Today's victory means the Australian team will not be represented in the world champs final for the first time since 1998. New Zealand will now attempt to win its second successive world champs title against the Netherlands, after New Zealand won its first world champs title in Christchurch in 2004.
Meanwhile, the New Zealand Under 19 Boys' and Girls' Teams have also secured places in the finals of their respective tournaments. The Boys' Team went through to the final after beating Canada in a physical game 6-2. While the Girls' Team qualified automatically for the final by going unbeaten through round robin play. Both Teams will play Great Britain in the finals tomorrow.
The New Zealand Women's Team will play South Africa for 5th place tomorrow, after being knocked out of the quarter-finals yesterday by Great Britain, in a tense game 6-4.