Despite only being introduced as a full-time event in 1998, hockey has quickly grown into one of the Commonwealth Games' most popular sports, and Glasgow 2014 figures to be no exception.
Australia was the most dominant men's team in the competition and subsequently won the 2014 gold medal, but the squad faced some very strong teams this year. The Australians beat India in the gold medal game and England beat New Zealand in the bronze medal match to finalize the podium.
The Australian women also managed to win the gold medal.
Only four teams qualified for the medal round, and the resulting action was unforgettable once the squads took to the field.
Not only did the Australian women’s team win the gold medal on Saturday, but the nation’s men’s team also managed to bring home the top prize on Sunday and won the 2014 Commonwealth Games' field hockey tournament.
Australia was the favorite to win the entire event, but the way the team dominated India in the final was better than expected. The Aussies scored two goals in the first half and another two goals in the second, but it was the defensive effort that made the ultimate difference.
|Men's Gold Medal Match||Australia||India||4-0||Australia|
|Men's Bronze Medal Match||England||New Zealand||3-3||England (Penalties)|
Much of the credit goes to goalkeeper Andrew Charter. A shutout in the championship game was a perfect example of his ability to rise to any occasion, but he was rock solid all tournament.
In six games, Charter allowed just four total goals. In that same span, Australia scored 30 goals.
Australian hockey legend Nikki Hudson shared her national pride on Twitter:
India deserves credit for advancing to the finals and beating the likes of New Zealand and Wales en route to the final game, but Australia was just too talented.
There was far more pressure involved with the gold medal game, but the best matchup on Sunday was the bronze medal matchup between England and New Zealand. The two teams tied 3-3, but it was the English who eventually won on penalties.
The matchup was a true battle between goaltenders. George Pinner of England faced 10 shots and Devon Manchester faced six. Manchester helped New Zealand beat England in the preliminary stage, but it was Pinner who came up biggest on Sunday.
Australia came into this event as the favorite and lived up to the expectations. It's a good day to be a fan of Australian hockey.
Saturday was semi-final day in the men's event. It was a day headlined by a crunch showdown between England and Australia. It proved to be nowhere near as close as anticipated.
A quick start from the Australians built momentum en route to a 4-1 win and a place in the final against India. It leaves England ready to face New Zealand to decide which nation claims Bronze.
Over in the Women's event, it was all about the medals. In contrast to what happened between the men, Australian and English women played out an intense and close battle for gold.
The war of attrition was eventually ended by the Hockeyroos after a penalty shootout.
Earlier, South Africa and New Zealand tussled for Bronze. The medal ultimately went to New Zealand after a thumping 5-2 triumph.
Here's a full breakdown of today's results:
|Men's Semi-final 2 Match||Australia||England||4-1||Australia|
|Men's Semi-final 1 Match||New Zealand||India||2-3||India|
|Men's Classification 5-6 Match||South Africa||Canada||7-3||South Africa|
|Women's Bronze Medal Match||South Africa||New Zealand||2-5||South Africa|
|Women's Gold Medal Match||Australia||England||1-1||Australia (Penalties)|
Here's the updated schedule for Hockey's final day:
|Men's Bronze Medal Match||10 a.m. BST||New Zealand||England||Glasgow National Hockey|
|Men's Gold Medal Match||12.15 a.m. BST||India||Australia||Glasgow National Hockey|
It was all about defensive resolve for England women against Australia. There was none of the usual successive passing that the Hockeyroos have made their trademark.
Instead, slick passing was replaced by frustration. That frustration was created by a gameplan that packed space with numbers and forced the Australians to take on multiple defenders at every area of the pitch.
It took a rare blunder at the back and late consecutive penalty corners to get Australia back into the game. England goalscorer Lily Owsley turned from hero to villain when she broke early on the first penalty.
That meant she was removed from the next corner, leaving England a defender short. Jodie Schulz then who broke English hearts, as she swept an accurate shot in with barely any time left:
That meant a shootout. The Australians survived the sudden death format with a captain's contribution from Madonna Blyth.
While this was a tense final, the game of the day came between India and New Zealand in the men's semi-final 1. After falling behind 2-0, India eventually won 3-2.
The victory was inspired by two goals in five minutes, per BBC Sport, with Ramandeep Singh among the scorers. His was a smartly taken goal, as he turned in a rasping drive to outwit New Zealand defenders.
Ashish Magotra of FirstPost.com described the clever striker: "Lovely deflection by Ramandeep within the D to get India back level. Manpreet drove the ball in powerfully and the deflection took everyone by surprise."
Singh's quick-thinking improvisation was a symbol of the daring hockey the Indians played. The early deficit encouraged the team to dismiss caution and produce some thrilling stuff.
However, it was far from edge of the seat fare in the other men's semi-final. Australia were on the board after 11 minutes and never looked back. Defensive gaffes from the English were as responsible as Australia's attacking brilliance for the final score.
Sky Sports reporter Jonathan Doidge detailed some of England's costly errors:
An early penalty corner gave Australia a soft lead when Tristan White fired past England goalkeeper George Pinner, before Dan Fox lost the ball on the edge of the England ‘D’ and allowed Simon Orchard to produce a superb finish to double the lead.
The comfortable win has set up a tantalising final with India. It will be a tough test despite Australia capturing every gold medal this event has offered since 1998.
But there is the added incentive for Australia's men to match the women and earn double gold in an event this nation traditionally dominates.
Day 9 of the Commonwealth Games saw women’s hockey edge closer to its climax, as Australia and England earned their respective places in the 2014 gold medal match.
Both semi-finals were perfectly set up ahead of the action with two close encounters expected, but the first match of the day proved to be anything but.
Australia simply thrashed South Africa to reach the final, winning 7-1 without really breaking a sweat—as Hockey Australia revealed:
Goals from Emily Smith and Kellie White got the party started after a sluggish start, and that turned out to be the boost that they so sorely needed.
Despite some late, first-half pressure from South Africa, Australia went in at the break 2-0 up and kicked on brilliantly from there.
Three goals in four second-half minutes from White, Georgie Parker and Jane Claxton put the result beyond doubt, before Smith and Parker got their respective seconds to add the icing to an already beautifully crafted cake.
However, the Australians were finally forced to pick the ball out of their net when Celia Evans grabbed a consolation for the South Africans at 6-0—ending a five-game streak without being breached, as journalist Danielle Isdale revealed:
The Hockeyroos will now defend their title against England in the gold medal match, who likewise progressed through to the final on Friday, but in very different circumstances.
In a dramatic encounter with New Zealand, England reached the final courtesy of a penalty shoot-out victory after drawing the match 1-1.
Lily Owsley scored a well-worked goal for the English in the first half, and that looked like being enough to secure a place in the final before late drama ensued.
With just two minutes remaining on the clock, Kiwi Katie Glynn struck to break England’s hearts, leaving the lottery of a penalty shoot-out to decide the teams’ respective fates.
It then became the Maddie Hinch show in Glasgow, with the England goalkeeper denying Anita Punt, Glynn and Stacey Michelsen from the spot to give her nation a priceless, 4-1 penalty-shootout victory.
The heroics were far from a stroke of luck by Hinch, though, who revealed after the match that she had been studying the Kiwi penalty takers—per BBC Sport:
"I'm renowned for being a bit of a geek when it comes to studying players and I'd done my homework on what to expect from them. I knew what they might do under pressure and I felt ready.”
You could feel the relief all around the arena as victory was confirmed, and England’s Sophie Bray took to Twitter to thank the crowd for their overwhelming support:
Bray and Co. will be hoping that the Glasgow crowd will be at their vocal best for the final with Australia, and they’ll need all the help they can get against such formidable opponents.
Elsewhere, in the men’s event, there were mixed results for the home nations, with Wales and Scotland both in action on Friday.
The Welsh put Trinidad and Tobago to the sword, 2-0, to claim ninth place before Scotland fell to a 2-1 defeat against the Malaysians to come eighth.
It's all set to be an exciting day for hockey on Saturday, with the women's medals going up for grabs and places in the gold medal match decided for men.
With so many twists and turns in the competition so far, expect drama of the highest order on Day 10, as both sets of English teams look to knock Australia from their perch.
The men's teams wrapped up their group matches on Thursday as the women's games for the bottom four spots were also played out after the preliminaries had finished on Wednesday.
|Men's Group A||Scotland vs. Australia||0-5|
|Men's Group A||India vs. South Africa||5-2|
|Men's Group B||England vs. Canada||3-1|
|Men's Group B||New Zealand vs. Malaysia||6-1|
|Women's Classification 9-10||T & T vs. Wales||0-4|
|Women's Classification 7-8||Canada vs. Malaysia||2-2 (0-3 on pens)|
England confirmed their spot in the semi-finals as they beat the Canadian team 3-1 in Group B per England Hockey:
And Jackson hits the post! - England win 3-1 against Canada, through to the semi-finals and finishing second in Pool B— England Hockey (@EnglandHockey) July 31, 2014
Canada needed a seven-goal victory to overhaul the English as runners-up and it never looked a possibility.
England dominated early proceedings and finally broke the deadlock through Ashley Jackson firing into the roof of the net.
Barry Middleton then doubled the lead as England created chance after chance and, with qualification secured barring a miracle from Canada, Jackson fired in a third from a penalty corner.
Scott Tupper added a consolation towards the end but England safely made it through to the last four where they will now face world champions Australia with Jackson insistent they must make the final, per BBC Sport:
The next step for this group of players is to make a final. We are ranked fourth in the world and have been very much playing to that ranking, unable to make that next step to get the right result in semi-finals.
It does not matter who we face, we are confident going into the Australia game. We have lost a few times but we have already beaten them.
New Zealand topped the group with a 6-1 mauling of Malaysia although their key victory was that over England earlier in the week which they won narrowly 2-1.
Congrats to NZ Men who have WON 6 - 1 against Malaysia finishing top of their pool. Bring on semi final time! pic.twitter.com/RQUIkD9STX— Black Sticks (@BlackSticks) July 31, 2014
However, while England were all but assured of playing Australia who were effectively guaranteed top spot in Group A, New Zealand had to wait and see the outcome of a virtual knockout game between India and South Africa.
And it was India who prevailed, winning 5-2 to secure their runners-up spot behind Australia who continued to show their class, thrashing hosts Scotland 5-0.
The Kookaburras made short work of guaranteeing their top spot, going 3-0 up early on through a Matt Gohdes double and a Chris Ciriello strike. They finished things off with ease and go into Saturday's semi-final with England having scored 22 and conceded just three in the group.
In the day's most significant match up, it was India who really showed their class to eventually cruise to victory and assure their spot in the last four.
Sports journalist Nikhil Naz was suitably impressed with the performance and favourably compared India to the great Aussie side:
India aren't just wearing yellow, they are showing shades of Australia in their hockey too. Easy win vs SAfrica & a place in semis #CWG2014— Nikhil Naz (@NikhilNaz) July 31, 2014
England will have to really impress if they are to overcome the indomitable Australians while India should take a great deal of confidence into their game with New Zealand after an impressive victory.
There was some women's hockey on Thursday as well, as the bottom two teams from each group—confirmed on Wednesday—faced up for classification matches.
Trinidad and Tobago were condemned to 10th place—bottom of the pile—as they faced Group B's last-placed team Wales, who prevailed convincingly, winning 4-0.
|T & T||1||0||3||-13||3|
Canada and Malaysia battled out for seventh spot later on Thursday evening, the side from Asia eventually prevailing 3-0 on penalties after a 2-2 draw in normal time.
Friday's action sees the finalists for the women's event decided as the last-four encounters between South Africa and Australia and England against New Zealand take place.
It also sees the final classification match for the women between India and Scotland, while the last four spots in the men's competition will be decided as Wales face Trinidad and Tobago and Scotland look to overcome Malaysia.
The men's teams were given a rest on Wednesday, as the women's preliminaries came to an end with four more matches. New Zealand and Australia had already qualified for the medal round coming into the day, and two more teams were set to join them when all was said and done.
|Women's||Malaysia||Trinidad and Tobago||0-0|
Hosts Scotland and England went head-to-head in Pool B, with a ticket to the semi-finals on the line. Despite a very strong surge in the second half from the hosts, it was England that emerged victorious, winning 2-1.
England Hockey shared the final result:
England dominated possession early and struck twice before half-time, through Alex Danson and Susannah Townsend (via penalty corner). The Scots would answer right before the break, however, with Nikki Kidd converting a penalty corner of her own.
Needing only a draw to advance, the English team spent much of the second half on the back foot, barely surviving a Scottish onslaught. Keeper Maddie Hinch played a brilliant second half, making several crucial stops, and England would book their place in the semi-finals after a brutal battle.
Lily Owsley was happy with the result, even if she didn't like the way her team played on Wednesday:
It was not pretty hockey but sometimes it's about grinding out a result.. But .... We're in the semi finals!! pic.twitter.com/ZXtwTpKCBu— Lily Owsley (@LilyOwsley) July 30, 2014
Coach Danny Kerry shared the same opinion, adding that the team will have to be more clinical in the medal round, via The Guardian's Emma John.
The second half was just nervy, and Scotland played really well. I was reasonably pleased with the way we started but in the second half you could see us go a little bit nervous and they fed off that. But we still had some very clear-cut chances to put the game beyond doubt.
As breathtaking as the opening match of the day was, the second fixture between Wales and Malaysia was rather dull, inspiring a number of frustrated comments on social media. Both teams came into the match winless and with a poor goal differential, and it showed on the field.
Neither team was able to score on Wednesday, and while there will be some consolation for the players involved (as neither team will be going home without recording a point), the drab affair inspired little confidence in the future of either squad.
New Zealand trashed Canada 6-0 in the third match of the day, and the Black Sticks will be one of two unbeaten teams advancing to the medal round, along with rivals Australia.
The team's official Twitter account shared the final score:
Anita Punt was on point (apologies), scoring twice in what turned out to be a routine win for the Black Sticks. New Zealand have been one of the absolute in-form teams in the tournament, and they will the favourites to finally break Australia's vice-grip on the title.
The last match of the day would decide who would join Australia, New Zealand and England in the medal round, with South Africa narrowly beating India 3-2 to advance.
India@Sports shared the result:
#CWG2014 :Women Hockey: India loses to South Africa 2-3 ..hence doesn't qualify for Semis!!— India@Sports (@India_CWG2014) July 30, 2014
A draw would have been enough for the South Africans to see them through to the next round (thanks to a better goal differential), and the team led 2-1 after the first half. Illse Davids and Dirkie Chamberlain had opened the scoring, with Rani Rampal limiting the damage for India.
Tarryn Bright seemed to have secured qualification with a goal midway through the second half, but a late goal from Japreet Kaur put the excitement back int the match. India pressed for two more goals, but the South Africans stood firm and held on for a 3-2 win.
|5||T & T||0||0||4||-47||0|
South Africa will face a very difficult challenge against defending champions Australia in the semi-finals, while England will have to improve their current level of play to have any chance against New Zealand when the women's competition resumes on Friday.
The women's competition took a break on Day 6 of the hockey competition, leaving our mens' teams to entertain Glasgow with their own hopes of making it deeper into the medal reckoning.
And it was very much a beneficial outing for the group leaders on Tuesday as Australia and New Zealand got the better of India and England, respectively, to extend their leads at the top of Pool A and B.
Meanwhile, Malaysia and Wales fell to Trinidad and Tobago and South Africa, respectively, although it did no major credit to the Trinidadians, who remain planted to the base of Pool B.
|Men's||Trinidad and Tobago||Malaysia||4-2|
The morning meeting between New Zealand and England had a tense ring to it, with England's official Commonwealth Games Twitter account confirming the 2-1 loss:
RESULT - HOCKEY: #TeamEngland's men lose narrowly to New Zealand, 2-1.— CommonwealthGamesENG (@weRengland) July 29, 2014
After going in at the break with a scoreless result, the Black Sticks opened their account through Andy Hayward, although the 1-0 lead lasted just seven minutes before defender Adam Dixon pulled back the equaliser.
However, the drama was to come late on, and with less than three minutes left on the clock, Simon Child snapped in a rebound at the far post to hand the Southern Hemisphere visitors their last-gasp victory.
Child's well-taken finish drew great praise from both home and away fans:
NZ men have won their crunch game against England thanks to a brilliant goal from Simon Child in final minutes of game. 2-1! #makingusproud— NZ Olympic Team (@nzolympics) July 29, 2014
NZ Simon Child class act! Always scoring stunning goals and continued that today! #CWG2014— Chloe Rogers (@RogersChloe12) July 29, 2014
Trinidad and Tobago claimed their first win of the Commonwealth Games on Tuesday, beating Malaysia 4-2 to tie level with them and Canada on three points apiece in Pool B.
However, having now played all their matches, the Caribbean outfit are guaranteed to finish bottom of their group, despite a Kwan Browne hat-trick giving them a strong boost, praised by Australian coach David Guest:
Substitute Mickell Pierre grabbed their other goal, while the Malaysian consolations came courtesy of strikes from Norhizzat Sumantri and Muhamad Ramadan Rosli, netting either side of halftime.
Australia's win over India was similarly dominant as they went in at the break as 3-1 leaders, Chris Ciriello landing two of his three shot attempts on target while Simon Orchard needed just the one chance to net, Jake Whetton adding the fourth.
Journalist Rajesh Kulra lumped some of the Indian defeat with the referee, however:
That being said, the Kookaburras were content with their 4-2 success, the scoring spread out between Ciriello, Orchard and Whetton:
Having now scored 17 goals at these Games, the Australians are in good shape to contend for gold medal honours in Glasgow.
One nation not fighting as fiercely, however, is Wales, who finish the group campaign without a point to their name, falling 5-1 to South Africa in Tuesday's last fixture.
It took Ignatius Malgraff just eight minutes to open the scoring at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre, captain Austin Smith adding the second and third either side of half-time, per Andre Bloem of East Coast Radio:
The thrashing was then made all the more embarrassing as Julian Hykes and Jethro Eustice got on the scoresheet for South Africa, Wales' only consolation coming from Liam Brignull four minutes from time.
Wales and Trinidad and Tobago know that they will each finish at the bottom of the pools, having played all their games, while Australia and New Zealand have buoyed hopes of topping the groups, each three points clear as things stand.
|Rank||Team||Games Played||Won||Drawn||Lost||Goals For||Goals Against||+/-||Points|
|Rank||Team||Games Played||Won||Drawn||Lost||Goals For||Goals Against||+/-||Points|
|5||Trinidad & Tobago||4||1||0||3||6||19||-13||3|
Those who ventured down to the astroturf for Monday's hockey matches would have seen a bit of everything. The spectators were treated to a host of goals, open matches, late winning goals and two wins for the hosts.
Here's the full set of results from Monday's games:
|Women's||India||Trinidad and Tobago||14-0|
|Women's||South Africa||New Zealand||1-2|
The opening match of the day saw Australia continue their dominance of the hockey discipline, as the men’s team hammered South Africa 6-0. Three goals in each half were enough for the Australians to emerge as easy victors, and they reaffirmed their status as the team to beat in these Commonwealth games.
Simon Orchard opened the scoring for Australia before Trent Mitton and Kieran Govers netted a brace apiece. Chris Ciriello then came off the bench to bag a penalty and put some gloss on the scoreline. Here’s Mitton celebrating his double, courtesy of the Kookaburra’s official Twitter account:
The result was a predictable one and after a 7-1 triumph in their opening game, it was the Kookaburras’ second consecutive win by a six-goal margin. It was another huge statement of intent as this Australia team look to plot their way towards the gold medal and at this juncture, it’s difficult to see anyone stopping them.
Scotland’s men’s team notched their first win of the games as they overcame Wales 4-3 in a thriller. The Scots found themselves behind early on, but roared on by a raucous home crowd they hauled their way back into the game, and Nicholas Parkes snaffled the winning goal eight minutes from time.
The Welsh were excellent in the first half, with Richard Gay causing myriad problems for the Scottish defence. He scored three goals in the opening period, showcasing a ruthlessly clinical edge from penalty corners to give the hosts a mountain to climb at the break. But despite being 3-1 down at the start of the second half, the Scotland’s belief never wavered.
They came flying out of the traps in the second period and quick-fire strikes from Gordon McIntyre and Daniel Coultas reduced the two-goal deficit. It was left to Parkes to slam home the winner for Scotland with the clock ticking down, sending the home crowd delighted.
It was a sensational match, and former England player Mel Clewlow thought it was the best game of the tournament so far:
The result gives Scotland a chance of progressing in the competition and they’ll be hoping the momentum gained from this win will see them go on to pick up some more important results against sterner opposition. Things look bleak for the Welsh though, as they sit bottom of the pool after three defeats from three matches.
Following those two intriguing clashes it was the turn of the women and Australian international footballer Tom Rogic was in attendance to get behind his compatriots, as the Hockeyroos squared off against England:
And just as was the case with the men’s team earlier in the day, the Australians proved too good for their opponents. England are pretty capable opposition too, but two goals from Jodie Kenny and another from Emily Smith gave the Hockeyroos the victory that their dominant performance merited.
Here are the pair celebrating at the final whistle, courtesy of the Hockeyroos Twitter account:
Rachael Lynch continued her superb run in the Australian goal of not conceding in this competition, and after bagging a hat-trick against Scotland in the 9-0 rout and another two here, Kenny looks like the most clinical player in the women’s game.
After the Scots got the better of the Welsh in the men’s match earlier in the day, the anticipation ahead of the women’s equivalent clash was palpable. A tight game looked as though it was going to be on the cards between these two evenly matched teams, but buoyed by the home support, Scotland had other ideas.
The home team started at a blistering pace and found themselves 2-0 up at the break thanks to goals from Alison Bell and Linda Clement. The Scots controlled the game well for long periods of the second half and they were able to preserve their two-goal lead with consummate ease.
That result means that England know they have a very important game coming up against the host nation, as tweeted here Lily Owsley:
Disappointing loss to the @Hockeyroos today. Need to beat Scotland for our place in the semis.. Good team performance— Lily Owsley (@LilyOwsley) July 28, 2014
The match afterwards pitted India women up against Trinidad & Tobago in what was always going to be a very one-sided match in the favour of the Indians. As expected, they were far too skilled for their opponents and won by a whopping scoreline of 14-0.
Staggeringly, they were 9-0 up at half time and if they'd kept the pressure on, there's little doubt India would have netted more goals. But they seemed happy to conserve energy and unwilling to heap too much humiliation onto a crop of players nowhere near their level.
In the last of Day 5's matches, South Africa and New Zealand women played out a gripping game. The two teams were very evenly matched throughout the contest and they went in level at one goal apiece at the break.
But in the second half it was New Zealand who looked the stronger of the two sides, and they eventually managed to edge out their opponents 2-1 and retake the top spot in a Pool A that seems to be simmering nicely.
Here's how things are shaping up ahead of Tuesday's matches:
|5||T & T||0||0||3||-15||0|
|5||T & T||0||0||4||-47||0|
And with the knockout stages not far off, here's a look Tuesday's fixtures:
|Men's||T & T||Malaysia||TBD|
In the men's preliminary round the two unbeaten teams in Pool B will square off, as England and New Zealand look to cement their status as group leaders in what promises to be a fine match. The same applies in Pool A, where both India and Australia put their perfect records on the line.
Wales vs. South Africa also looks as though it's going to be a cracking duel. Wales simply have to come out on top in that one if they're to inject any kind of momentum into their tournament, while South Africa know they must capitalise with one of Australia or India set to drop points.
Six matches were played on Sunday, and while it looked like we could see some very close fixtures on paper throughout the day, all of the favourites easily took care of business with an eye on the medal round.
Australia have dominated the event since its inception, and things didn't change on Sunday:
|Women's||Canada||Trinidad and Tobago||4-1|
|Men's||Canada||Trinidad and Tobago||3-1|
The Hockeyroos demolished hosts Scotland 9-0, as shared by the team's official Twitter account:
Final Score | SCOvAUS | 9-0 AUS | Goals from Nelson, Kenny x 3, Flanagan x 2, Nanscawen, Peris and Taylor http://t.co/mmUtGEsXwW— Hockeyroos (@Hockeyroos) July 27, 2014
Australia hadn't been perfect so far during the tournament, and fans were hoping the Scottish defence would be able to limit the damage of the Hockeyroos' high-octane attack.
Three goals in the first half quickly took those hopes away, and the second half turned into a nightmare for the Scottish team, who couldn't even make it out of their own half.
Rachael Lynch hasn't conceded in 210 minutes, and Sunday's match was perhaps her easiest yet. Edwina Bone made her 50th cap for the Australian team, who scored seven goals on the penalty corner, with three coming off the stick of Jodie Kenny.
Australia will take on England on Monday, in the biggest test for both teams yet. The English women beat Malaysia 5-0 on Sunday, ensuring the two favourites for the title will be unbeaten heading into their tie.
Lily Owsley can't wait:
Five different players scored for England, who dominated the match from start to finish. Their inability to take advantage of a multitude of penalty corners is cause for concern, however, as the Aussies are ruthless in front of goal and won't give up many openings.
Trinidad and Tobago played their best match yet and scored their very first goal in a 4-1 loss to Canada. As luck would have it, both countries would meet again later in the day, only this time the men would take to the field. Canada made it two-for-two, beating the West Indians 3-1.
Both teams are hardly traditional powerhouses in the world of hockey, but their progress over the past few years has been encouraging.
The Caribbean team in particular needed the experience of these Commonwealth Games, and if their display on Sunday is any indication, they took their lessons from two harsh losses earlier in the tournament.
New Zealand kept up the pace in Pool A in the final women's match of the day, beating India 3-0. The Black Sticks struggled in the first half but scored twice after the break, sending a strong signal to the South African team.
The two will play on Monday in a match that will likely decide the winners of Pool A.
The last match of the day was the men's tie between England and Malaysia, and with the threat of rain in the air, plenty of fans elected to go home early. That would prove to be a mistake—England put together a fantastic performance, beating Malaysia 8-1.
Ashley Jackson scored four goals, as England's penalty corner was working to perfection all evening long.
|Women's||Trinidad and Tobago||India||TBD|
|Women's||South Africa||New Zealand||TBD|
Monday's slate of fixtures will finally pit some of the top teams against each other, and fans will likely get to witness previews for the matches we'll be seeing in the medal round.
The men's preliminaries are still in the early stages, but the women's fixtures between Australia and England in the afternoon and South Africa and New Zealand in the evening will both be decisive with an eye on the seeding for the next round.
There will be plenty of drama and emotion on tap on Monday, as we draw ever closer to the medal round.
The favourites were once again at it on Saturday, with four matches played in the men's preliminaries. Day 3 of the hockey tournament was a bit of a goalfest, with the top medal contenders starting to build some momentum.
It's been a rough few days for Trinidad and Tobago hockey, and that trend continued on Saturday. One day after the women's team lost to New Zealand 14-0, the men's suffered a similar fate against the Blacksticks, losing 8-0 in the day's opener.
New Zealand's official Twitter account had the final result:
Final score 8-0 win to nz men! @nzolympics— Black Sticks (@BlackSticks) July 26, 2014
Shay Neal and Nick Haig scored twice and New Zealand never took their foot of the gas, pushing to improve their goal differential. The West Indians had the bad luck of facing the two top teams in Pool B first, and a goal differential of minus-13 is the logical result.
Canada's start to the tournament was promising, a 3-1 loss to the Black Sticks, but Saturday's 2-0 loss against Malaysia all but ensured the team won't be playing in the medal round. Malaysia scored once in each half and easily defended their lead against an uninspired Canadian squad, who clearly felt uncomfortable making the play on such a big stage.
Izwan Firdaus Ahmad Tajuddin and Ahmad Kazamirul Nasruddin, the first goal coming from a penalty corner after 15 minutes and the last in the final minute of the match. Canada played at a frantic pace for much of the second half but hardly got any good looks on goal, and the final result was an accurate reflection of what both teams brought to the field.
The Kookaburras did what they had to do, beating Wales 7-1, as shared by the team's Twitter account:
Favourites for the gold after their World Cup win earlier this year, Australia took a 3-0 lead into half-time and kept attacking the Welsh goal to earn a comfortable win. As shared by journalist Danielle Isdale, Jake Whetton's hattrick was the first of his international career:
The Welsh side fought valiantly for much of the match, but as the Kookaburras showed during the World Cup, they are clearly the dominant force in men's hockey right now.
Hosts Scotland lost the final match of the day to India in rather embarrassing fashion, losing 6-1. While not a dominant force in the sport, the Scots were expected to an Indian team that has seen a sharp decline in the past few years.
The Indian penalty corners were working to perfection, however, and the hosts simply gave up far too many open looks. The score was 2-0 after the first half, but the Scottish team completely disintegrated after the break.
The Scots will have to recover from this trashing in a hurry, or things could get ugly when they face the Australian and South African team.
|Women's||Canada||Trinidad and Tobago||TBD|
|Men's||Canada||Trinidad and Tobago||TBD|
The women will return to the field on Sunday, and while Australia and Canada should easily win their fixtures, the two other matches should bring the fans some real excitement. Malaysia are underdogs against England but could surprise the squad, while India and New Zealand will likely determine who will join South Africa in the medal round from Pool A.
It was not a good day for Welsh Hockey teams at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Both the men's and the women's representatives were comfortably dispatched.
The former were beaten 3-1 by India to open today's play. But the women suffered a more humiliating fate.
Australia trounced the Welsh 9-0 in the day's third game. Jodie Kenny chipped in with three of those nine goals, per BBC Sport.
But even that comprehensive victory wasn't the most impressive performance of the day. That distinction belonged to New Zealand, who demolished Trinidad and Tobago by a 14-0 scoreline.
There were seven goals in each half per Glasgow2014.com. Krystal Forgesson helped herself to four of those successful strikes.
Here are the full results from Friday's play:
|Women's||New Zealand||Trinidad and Tobago||14-0|
There was significant disappointment for the Glasgow faithful when Scotland Men's team took on South Africa. The latter comfortably triumphed by two clear goals.
A hard-fought game hinged on an incident early in the second half, when Scotland were playing with only 10 men. With Niall Stott serving a five-minute suspension, his brother Ross kept out Cronje’s shot with a shoulder.
The defeat leaves the hosts needing "at least two" wins to qualify for the medal round, per BBC Sport.
Some local pride was restored when Scotland's women used two goals from Ailsa Wyllie to see off an outplayed Malaysia team.
Here are the full standings after today's play, beginning with the Women's event:
|5||Trinidad and Tobago||0||0||2||0||-30|
Things are bleak for Trinidad and Tobago, having played an game extra and posting a nightmare -30 goal difference. South Africa and New Zealand appear to already have qualification sealed.
Things aren't just as clear in Pool B:
The Australians obviously hold sway here. They have yet to concede and are finding the net at will. By contrast, neither Malaysia nor Wales have managed to score a single goal at the games so far.
Here's a closer look at the standings in the men's event.
Propping up the bottom of the table for Pool A, must make painful reading for Scotland. The ominous signs could be evident for this group of teams after a powerful Australia squad makes its games debut tomorrow.
Here's what Pool B looks like:
|5||Trinidad and Tobago||0||0||1||0||-5|
Here's the schedule of play for Day 3:
|Men's||9 a.m. BST||New Zealand||Trinidad and Tobago||Glasgow National Hockey|
|Men's||11 a.m. BST||Malaysia||Canada||Glasgow National Hockey|
|Men's||2 p.m. BST||Australia||Wales||Glasgow National Hockey|
|Mens'||4 p.m. BST||India||Scotland||Glasgow National Hockey|
The men's even dominates Saturday's schedule, before the Women's teams are back in action on Sunday. The marquee match in the next round of games is undoubtedly Scotland's clash with India.
The Scots aren't quite in must-win territory yet. However, they are mighty close. That's not a good position to be in against an India team that was very impressive against the Welsh.
The Indians were particularly dangerous from the set-piece routines, with two of their goals coming from penalty corners. Those routines are something Scotland must counter on Day 3.
Elsewhere, the Welsh will likely be sent packing after a typically dominant performance from much-fancied and current World No.1, Australia.
Four women's and two men's preliminary matches were on the schedule for the first day of competition, and the favourites didn't disappoint. Here are the results from all of Thursday's matches at the Glasgow Hockey Centre:
|Women's||South Africa||Trinidad and Tobago||16-0|
|Men's||England||Trinidad and Tobago||6-1|
The full standings after the first day of action:
|Pool A||Pool B|
|Pool A||Pool B|
Defending champions Australia cruised to a routine 4-0 win over Malaysia, as shared by the Hockeyroos' Twitter account:
Georgie Parker was the hero with two goals, but she could have had a lot more if it wasn't for Malaysia goalkeeper Farah Ayuni Yahya, who put together one of the finest performances a stopper could make in a losing effort.
Australia dominated from start to finish, and captain Madonna Blyth told Sportskeeda's IANS she and her teammates always find it difficult to play against teams that aren't in their league:
"It is always a bit hard for us when we have to play against somebody not quite in our league but I thought they played pretty bravely and their defence was pretty good."
For all of their greatness, the Hockeyroos couldn't steal the spotlights on Thursday. That honour belonged to the Queen of England, as she photo-bombed Jayde Taylor's selfie:
The Queen saw England beat Wales 2-0 in the second match of the day, and while the favourites struggled mightily in the match, captain Kate Richardson-Walsh told the Daily Express' Graham Wilson the result is the only thing that matters:
With tournament hockey nobody remembers what the scoreline was in the end, they just remember how many points you had on the table so I’m really happy to get the win. Coming on the back of a disappointing World Cup, we just want to build some momentum and we know how important winning your first game is. Second half, we did play some better stuff and if we can build on that I think we can be right in it.
Wales took up a defensive position from the very start of the match and were aided by an injury to Georgie Twigg in the very first minute. England looked lost without their star midfielder, but goals in the 29th and 63rd minute were enough to see them get past their neighbours.
Trinidad and Tobago don't have a rich hockey tradition, and that was evident on Thursday as the team lost 16-0 to South Africa. Leading 7-0 at the half, the South Africans kept the pace high, with goal differential potentially decisive when it came to qualification for the medal round.
South Africa crowded the space in front of goal very well and fired in shot after shot, with nearly every rebound falling their way. Trinidad and Tobago couldn't even make it out of their own half, and Dirkie Chamberlain was ruthless in front of goal, scoring four times.
India didn't have it easy in the final women's match of the day, beating Canada 4-2. Jaspreet Kaur scored twice, and the Indian team made the difference by converting three of their penalty corners against a valiant but overmatched Canadian side. IBNLive's Jaspreet Sahni was impressed:
England started the men's tournament off in strong fashion, beating Trinidad and Tobago 6-1, as shared by the Doncaster Free Press' Hayley Paterson:
FT: England 6 Trinidad & Tobago 1 Comfortable opening victory for Eng men's hockey. Doncaster's Barry Middleton also on target #Glasgow2014— Hayley Paterson (@HayleyP_11) July 24, 2014
Six different players scored for England, but the main story was the resistance the men from the Caribbean showed, particularly in the first half. Trinidad and Tobago didn't just defend well—their goal through Mickell Pierre was well deserved.
England fully deserved the win, however, and they couldn't have asked for a better start in a tricky Pool B.
Canada gave New Zealand everything they could handle in the final match of the day, with the favourites eventually coming out on top 3-1.
The score was tied after one half of hockey, but the Canadian team seemed to tire quickly in the second half, giving up two more goals to the Black Sticks. Arun Panchia, Phil Burrows and Andy Hayward scored the goals for New Zealand, who are expected to rival England for the top spot in Pool B.
|Women's||New Zealand||Trinidad and Tobago||TBD|
Six more matches will be played on Friday, with women's favourites Australia and South Africa once again facing teams they should be able to handle comfortably. It's impossible to make accurate predictions this early in the competition, but it looks like the medal round could once again be dominated by the traditional heavyweights.