Australia reign supreme at both the men’s and women’s field hockey Oceania Cup. The winning team from each tournament was given a spot to the Olympics. Should the winning team have also qualified due to their performance at the 2014-15 World League Semifinals then the spot will be reallocated to the next highest ranked team from the World League. The Field Hockey Oceania Cup was held in Stratford, New Zealand from October 21st to October 25th 2015.
Only three teams took place in the women’s tournament where powerhouses New Zealand and Australia defeated Samoa 31-0 and 25-0 respectively sending both teams to the final. The final group game did not matter, but both teams traded field goals as the game became tied at half-time. New Zealand took the lead in the third from a penalty corner by Olivia Merry, but Australia was able to respond with a penalty corner themselves as Jodie Kenny tied the game with about four minutes remaining. The game ended in a 2-2 draw to set the backdrop for the final.
The final was good news for Japan since both Australia and New Zealand have previously qualified from the World League semifinals which means one of the newly vacant spot after this tournament will be reallocated to Japan.
New Zealand took a very early lead from goal by Petrea Webster, however, in the second Australia managed to tie the game when Laura Barden scored. The game would remain tied for the rest of the match forcing the championship title to a shoot-out. Australia won the shoot-out 2-1 to give them the title.
The men’s tournament contained four teams with powerhouse Australia and New Zealand taking on Fiji and Samoa. Unlike the women’s tournament this tournament matters for New Zealand as they were unable to secure a spot from the World League Semifinals. Should Australia win, their World League spot will be reallocated to Ireland.
As expected Australia and New Zealand easily defeated Fiji and Samoa with double digit defeats as the two nations qualified to the final. The group stage match between Australia and New Zealand began with a first minute lead for Australia. Afterwards the two nations traded chances until Australia was able to go up 2-0 with a goal from Thomas Craig. New Zealand made the match interesting when Hugo Inglis scored with five minutes remaining, but Australia put the game away with a goal from Glenn Turner to win the match 3-1.
In the final Australia took an early 2 goal lead within the first six minutes. New Zealand was able to pull back one in the second to bring the score to 2-1 in half-time. A goal by Trent Mitton late in the third gave Australia some breathing room, but New Zealand wasn’t done yet as Kane Russel scored in the fourth, but sadly the comeback was not to be as Australia won the match 3-2, which means Ireland qualifies to the Olympics due to reallocation.
This was New Zealand’s final opportunity to qualify in the men’s tournament. Their only hope would be if a team withdraws from the Olympics. It could happen, especially if South Africa wins the African championship due to the nation having very tough qualification standards.
Women’s Tournament Rankings
- New Zealand
Men’s Tournament Rankings
- New Zealand
- FIH. 2015 Oceania Cup – Men. Access on October 25 2015.
- FIH. 2015 Oceania Cup – Women. Access on October 25 2015.