Home' Greymouth Star : January 20th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
e Wellington Phoenix have not lost
in their past ve games and they can
now turn a realistic eye to making a
charge towards the A-League playo s.
After they hammered the Melbourne
Victory 5-0 at Westpac Stadium on
Saturday night, it marked Wellington's
fourth win in ve games to go with a
1-1 draw against the Central Coast
Mariners the week before.
It was Wellington's most complete
performance of the season as they
dominated one of the A-League's
A double to former Victory mid elder
Carlos Hernandez plus a stunning
striker from Kenny Cunningham in the
rst half, set Wellington o towards a
e Phoenix are still lingering outside
the top six but they are only one win
away from joining the promised half
dozen who qualify for the post-season.
at search for a playo spot will
continue in Brisbane next week, but
after 15 games, Wellington have nally
got a roll on after failing to nd a win
from their rst 10 contests this season.
Hernandez began Saturday night's
rout when he latched on to a pass from
Vince Lia to nish smartly from the
top of the box in the 18th minute as his
pinpoint shot gave Victory goalkeeper
Nathan Coe no chance.
An early goal was just the tonic for
the home side who thrived in the cool
conditions on o er at Westpac Stadium
as they passed the ball around freely
and simply dominated the third-placed
Melbourne struggled to impose
themselves on the game as Wellington
enjoyed a weight of possession during
the rst spell and should have added
to their lead just after half an hour; but
Coe saved well from a Michael Boxall
shot before Stein Huysegems had his
e ort cleared o the line.
But Wellington did not drop their
heads despite the near-misses and
continued to press and they were well
rewarded when Cunningham doubled
their advantage in the 45th minute with
a wonder strike from well outside the
e Costa Rican international received
the ball a long way out and quickly hit a
perfectly-timed speculator over Coe as
Wellington grew in con dence.
Hernandez, the other half of
Wellington's Costa Rican connection,
then added a third right on half-time
via the penalty spot after he was taken
down in the box.
Penalties have been a slightly
problematic proposition for Wellington
this summer, but Hernandez made no
mistake as he sent Coe the wrong way.
e Phoenix were then given a
standing ovation as they left the ground
at half-time, something which has not
been seen in the capital in a fair while.
No Phoenix player has ever scored a
hat-trick since the club was formed in
2007 and Hernandez looked in the sort
of mood that he might nally break the
side's long-standing duck; but Merrick
decided his mid eld maestro had done
enough damage as he pulled him in the
Matthew Ridenton, who still does
not turn 18 until March, was given
an opportunity to continue his
development as a professional footballer
when he was the man summoned to
e New Zealand youth international
certainly did not disgrace himself during
his time on the paddock and showed
some nice touches in only his third
appearance for the Phoenix.
e second spell looked like it would
meander towards an uninspiring nish,
but the arrival of Jeremy Brockie in to
the contest from the substitutes bench
provided some late reworks.
e All Whites striker nally broke
his goal drought in ne fashion in the
85th minute as he scored for the rst
time since round four in November
and then Huysegems turned one home
as the committed crowd of 6813 went
ballistic. --- APNZ
Monday, January 20, 2014 - 11
Bitter disappointment at failing
to produce their best when it really
mattered will be tempered by
satisfaction at strides taken by the New
Zealand Black Sticks hockey side at the
World League nals in New Delhi.
New Zealand were well beaten, 7-2,
by world No 3 the Netherlands in the
nal, paying a heavy price for a poor
e ipside is they were not expected
to reach the nal and are sure to get a
rise in the world rankings, up from their
seventh place going into the event.
e Black Sticks were forced into
penalty shootouts in the quarter-
nal against Argentina and semi- nal
against England and won them both.
Goalkeeper Devon Manchester
was outstanding and penalty-takers
displayed cool heads and con dence.
New Zealand played their best hockey
against No 4 side England.
But the Dutch, historically a di cult
proposition for New Zealand, were too
strong and assertive.
However, assistant coach Bryce
Collins does not subscribe to the idea
that the nal was one game too far for
the Black Sticks.
"At the end of the day the Dutch
played very well and were certainly
better than us on the day," he said.
" e disappointing thing is we really
didn't throw any punches until we were
three or four down.
"We were very passive in the rst half
and that's a learning we can take out of
it going forward."
Coach Colin Batch talked of the pride
in the squad at winning the silver medal
--- this was the rst time since winning
Olympic gold in Montreal in 1976 that
New Zealand have made a tier one nal
--- and the development of the group as
the tournament progressed.
e top ve nations were in New
Delhi and New Zealand are likely to
climb at least one spot, to No 6, through
"It's very di cult to stay within the
top four nations in the world and we've
done that here, so that's something
we're looking to make a regular thing,"
Mid elder Steve Edwards scored
both New Zealand goals in the nal
but the squad took the manner of the
defeat hard, Collins said.
"We were bitterly disappointed and
took a little bit of time to sink in, but
in a day or two we'll re ect back and be
relatively pleased with where we got to.
"I rmly believe we're making
progress. We are competing with
top tier nations, but we've got to do
that consistently. Collectively we are
heading in the right direction."
It is a busy year for the Black
Sticks, who next have the Champions
Challenge tournament in Malaysia in
late April, before the World Cup in e
Hague, followed by the Commonwealth
Games in Glasgow in July.
--- APNZ-New Zealand Herald
Black Sticks fume at failure to fire in final
PICTURE: Getty Images
Tyler Boyd of the Phoenix is brought down in the tackle of Adrian Leijer of the Victory.
at the Australian Open
was knocked out of the
men's doubles yesterday
afternoon with Michael
Venus and Indian partner
Yuki Bhambri falling in
straight sets in their third
e duo went down
to fth seeds Leander
Paes, of India, and Czech
Radek Stepanek 6-3 6-2.
e rst set was with
serve until the sixth
game when Bhambri was
broken on a double fault.
Paes then held his serve
to make the score 5-2
before Venus came back
with a love game on his
serve and despite the
Kiwi and Indian having
a break point, Stepanek
was able to ser ve out the
e second set saw
Bhambri broken in the
rst game and then the
fth game where Venus
also managed to pummel
Stepanek in the shoulder
with a crunching
ey gained one more
game but in the end Paes
served out the match.
Venus and Bhambri
joked after the match
that it was their rst loss
together having won a
in Winnetka on their rst
time pairing together and
then the Australian Open
wildcard tournament in
"It was a great
experience being out there
on that court. e crowd
was awesome, I really
enjoyed it. Of course I
wish the result was a bit
di erent," Venus said.
" ey are great players
and they played well
today. We had our
chances and we didn't
quite take some of them.
I felt I served well and
Yuki was able to cut o
the rallies at the net," he
"We'll now move on to
the next tournament and
work on things we can get
e New Zealand-
Indian combination only
had three break points
in the entire match and
failed to convert any. Paes
and Stepanek led the
winners count 25-12 as
they cruised to victory in
just over an hour.
It is expected Venus will
see his doubles ranking
improve from 127 in the
world to about 110 when
rankings come out early
Venus will collect
$19,110 prizemoney for
making the third round.
--- APNZ-New Zealand
Venus dips out in third round of doubles
PICTURE: Getty Images
Michael Venus ser ves during the match.
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