| Australia’s Katrina Powell (left) vies for the ball with New Zealand’s Sandy Bennett in the 10th women’s Champions Trophy in Macau Tuesday. Australia won 3-1. (AP/PTI)
Macau: World Cup holders Australia kept alive their slim hopes of a record sixth Champions Trophy women’s hockey title in Macau with a comprehensive win over Trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand on Tuesday.
New Zealand went down 1-3 despite snatching an early lead through Amanda Christie in a repeat of the bronze medal playoff at last month’s Commonwealth Games, won 4-3 by the Aussies.
Defending champions Argentina emphatically crushed an outclassed England 4-0 in the day’s second match.
The Aussies watched in horror as New Zealand opened the scoring after eight minutes when a powerful run down the left wing by Jaimee Provan drew ’keeper Nina Bonner off her line. Provan flipped the ball over Bonner leaving Christie the simple task of tapping home into an unguarded net.
The Australians levelled when Louise Dobson crashed home an unstoppable shot from a penalty corner.
They then began to dominate as on-pitch temperatures of 37 degrees Celsius coupled with the energy-sapping humidity took their toll on the New Zealanders.
Captain Katrina Powell seized on a loose ball in the circle and span sharply before striking home powerfully past Anne-Marie Irving to give the Australians the lead right on the stroke of half-time.
Wendy Alcorn gave them a two-goal cushion 10 minutes into the second half that they never looked liked relinquishing when her timid shot crept past Irving.
The Australians, who now have four points from three games, will face England and defending champions Argentina in their final two round-robin matches.
In the second match, Argentina demolished Commonwealth silver medallists England to remain top of the round-robin table with seven points. Striker Vanina Oneto opened the scoring after just four minutes. Then, a bobbly strike from Cecilia Rognoni in between two magnificent goals from Luciana Aymar, the second a searing shot from the circle into the top corner, completed the 4-0 rout.