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Underwater Hockey Victory

Underwater Hockey Victory

The New Zealand Men's Underwater Hockey Team won its second successive World Champs title with a thrilling 5-3 win over the Netherlands in Sheffield, England.

The experienced Netherlands team struggled against the New Zealanders' speed and skill, failing to get into the game in the first half, with New Zealand leading 3-1 at half time. In the second half, on the back of a one-sided penalty count and a number of New Zealand players spending time in the sin-bin, the Netherlands closed the gap to 3-2. However, the New Zealand Team rallied in the latter stages of the second half and, thanks to two goals to inspirational forward Benson Taylor, managed to close the game down 5-3.

An ecstatic New Zealand captain Liam Watson said he was "proud of the Team and what they had achieved. The game demonstrated that New Zealand's style of play and commitment was second to none". He also noted that "the future of underwater hockey in New Zealand looked strong".

New Zealand's victory marks the first time that any team, other than Australia, has defended the world champs title, since the first world champs in 1980.

The New Zealand Under 19 Boys' and Girls' also showed the winning touch. The Boys' Team managed to shut out a strong British team 5-0 in the final yesterday, while the Girls' Team also hung on to beat the British in an extremely close game, 3-1. Both the Boys' and Girls Team retain their World Champs titles which they won in 2004.

Underwater Hockey NZ Chairman Tristan Reynard said he was "thrilled with the results" and that "these results show that the time and effort put into the game in New Zealand by players and officials was really starting to pay off".

See www.nzuwh.com.

Ends

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