The Press

Black Sticks miss their qualificat­ion chance


The Black Sticks men have missed a chance to secure automatic qualificat­ion for the 2018 Hockey World Cup after being beaten 1-0 by Ireland in their classifica­tion playoff at the Hockey World League semifinal in South Africa at the weekend.

It was a tight contest which saw both sides locked in a goal-less stalemate for most of the game before Ireland delivered the winning strike with a 49th-minute field goal from Alan Sothern.

New Zealand created good chances over the final 10 minutes as they fought for an equaliser but weren’t able to convert.

The result sees Ireland secure the final automatic qualificat­ion spot up for grabs at the tournament for the 2018 Hockey World Cup in India.

The Black Sticks, who finished sixth overall, will now need to go down a different route to qualify for the World Cup.

Their next opportunit­y will be the Oceania Cup, which will be held in Sydney in October.

Experience­d campaigner Shea McAleese marked a huge personal milestone during the match with his 250th test appearance for New Zealand.

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