Birthday boy gets Kookas home
WORLD champion Australia is already looking to 2018 men’s hockey World Cup opponent England after beating Ireland in India.
The Kookaburras started their World Cup defence with an opening 2-1 win over world No. 10 Ireland on Friday in Bhubaneswar.
Blake Glovers’s opening goal off a corner in the 11th minute was cancelled out two minutes later by Ireland’s Shane O’Donoghue, but Tim Brand scored the winner in the 34th minute.
The Sydneysider, who debuted with the Kookaburras in June, was delighted to seal the victory on his 20th birthday.
“We played very well but so did Ireland. Great crowd and I couldn’t have asked for anything better to celebrate my birthday,” he said.
Brand said Australia was already looking ahead to its next match, against world No. 7 England, at 12:30am (AEDT) on Wednesday.
“England is our next game and they’re always a tough opposition. They’re a great team. They’re all quality. We’ll do our homework and hopefully get the win,” he added.
The scoreline of its opening match didn’t do justice to Australia’s dominance. The Kookaburras led Ireland in every key statistic. BERNARD Tomic’s rejuvenation is set to continue next month after the Queenslander secured a Kooyong Classic place alongside grand slam elite. Tomic, who overcame a shambolic start to the 2018 season before becoming one of only two Australian men to lift ATP singles titles, has signed on for the Kooyong Classic.
He will fine tune for the January 14-27 Australian Open with at least two matches against opponents, including grand slam winners Juan Martin del Potro and Marin Cilic.
Wimbledon finalist Kevin Anderson is also committed to the revamped Kooyong Classic.
Tournament director Peter Johnston says Tomic’s elevation was further evidence of an inspired resurgence.
Tomic, who lapsed to No.243 in May after failing to qualify at Melbourne Park last January, is now ranked No.86 — and safely inside the Australian Open’s direct cut-off.
Tomic used Rafael Nadal and Patrick Mouratoglou’s European bases to grind his way back into shape.
The effort paid off in Chengdu in September, when he won seven matches in a row to win the ATP 250 event, toppling world No.13 Fabio Fognini in the final.