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Kiwis take title

The final of the BDO Women’s Champions Challenge hockey tournament proved a bridge too far for South Africa at Hartleyvale.

The home side went down 2-1 to New Zealand, this after the two sides had drawn 3-3 earlier in the tournament.

In the final though, the Black Sticks used their physical domination to keep the South Africans on the back foot throughout.

New Zealand opened the scoring through Anita Punt after scrappy play inside the circle and this was the first time that the South Africans had been behind for the entire tournament.

It got worse as the the Kiwis doubled their lead after the first penalty corner award of the match when Clarissa Eshuis powered a drag-flick to the right of ‘keeper Mariette Rix and the sides went into halfway with South Africa having to do all the work.

South Africa showed improvement in the terms of territory and possession in the second half and with six minutes to play reduced the deficit through a Kate Woods drag-flick.

But it was too little, too late as New Zealand held on for the victory. Consolation for SA came in the fact that they won the Fair Play award and Rix was named the best goalkeeper of the tournament. Farah Fredericks and Eshuis shared the trophy for leading goalscorer and Gemma Flynn rounded off a great week for the Kiwis, being named Player of the Tournament.

The bronze medal went to Japan, who edged Spain 1-0 through a goal by captain Rika Komazawa.