The Sentinel Homes North v South series will go down to the wire on Tuesday night with both the men’s and women’s series locked at 1-1 after day two in Hamilton today.
The North evened up the women’s series at St Paul’s Collegiate today with a 1-0 victory after going down 2-0 yesterday, while in the men’s clash the South knocked in three third quarter goals to reverse yesterday’s 5-4 victory by the North.
In today’s women’s clash, the intensity was certainly up a level from yesterday’s action despite there only being a solitary goal late in the match.
The deadlock was finally broken with 11 minutes left on the clock. The North tried a different play at penalty corner time with the strike coming from defender Kathryn Moffitt which deflected in off a defender.
The South took off their goalkeeper shortly after and threw everything at it but couldn’t grab the equaliser.
Victorious North captain Stacey Michelsen said her side was more clinical today.
“Our back four players were so composed on the ball. With the South team good at pressing you have to be very composed. We held the ball really well and took our options carefully.”
Michelsen is looking forward to having experienced defender Ella Gunson back for Tuesday night’s decider.
Vantage Black Sticks Women’s Coach Graham Shaw said the intensity and quality of the game went up a notch from yesterday.
“I was really pleased with the lift from both teams. Today was a really good step up towards international level and when that happens your world-class players go to another level.”
Women: North 1 (Kathryn Moffitt 49 min) South 0.
In the men’s match both teams were boosted with the return of two Black Sticks apiece – Shea McAleese and Aidan Sarikaya for the North and Hugo Inglis and Nick Ross for the South.
After a goalfest in the men’s clash yesterday, today’s first half was a quiet affair with the highlight being a brilliant goal-line save from South defender Ross to a drag flick from North skipper Nic Woods.
It all changed in the third quarter with three goals to the South putting the result beyond doubt. South’s Dane Lett opened the scoring just after the break with a drag flick penalty corner into the bottom right of the goal.
Two minutes later they extended their lead to 2-0 through Sam Lane. David Brydon delivered the ball on a plate to an unmarked Lane in the circle who made no mistake from short range.
Shortly after Brydon was again the architect, breaking down the right-hand side. His cross was unable to be cleared and Stephen Jenness latched on to it to give the South a 3-0 lead heading into the final quarter.
And that was where the score remained at 3-0 mainly thanks to an outstanding effort by South goalkeeper George Enersen who kept a clean sheet despite being stung by a bee before the game.
Winning South captain Blair Tarrant had a smile on his face after the convincing victory.
“Our defensive job wasn’t good enough yesterday and we were really firm on that today. We didn’t want to give them any opportunities.
“And our goalie George (Enersen) played really well.”
Men: South 3 (Dane Lett 33 min, Sam Lane 35 min, Stephen Jenness 41 min) North 0.
The final doubleheaders of the series will be held on Tuesday at 6.30pm (men) and 8pm (women). All matches are played at St Paul’s Collegiate and broadcast on Sky Sport 9 and Sky Sport Next.