NEW Zealand’s Black Sticks romped their way to the semi-finals of the women’s competition at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games after thumping Canada 6-0 on Wednesday.
Braces for Anita Punt and Krystal Forgesson complemented efforts from Katie Glynn, Petrea Webster and Kayla Whitelock.
The scoreline belied the fact that the southern hemisphere side enjoyed only a 6% possession advantage over their victims.
The Kiwis got a dream start, Punt hammering home from the edge of the circle before the first 60 seconds of the game had passed.
Waves of black attacks soon followed before Webster was gifted a tap-in at the far post after 16 minutes.
Webster again broke into the Canadian circle less than a minute later, but Glynn’s finish was disallowed.
A classy deflection from Forgesson gave the Black Sticks a 3-0 lead on 23 minutes.
As the Canadia defence rallied, the Kiwis won a succession of PCs, neither of which were fruitful.
The Canadians, with just one win in the tournament so far, had occasional forays forward with Surrey-born Abigail Raye harrying in the midfield and Brienne Stairs pushing forward, but with no joy.
Early in the second half, Whitelock added to their misery with a cross-cum-shot on the reverse, a yard off the baseline that squeezed past Kaitlyn Williams in the Canadian net.
Punt set up Sophie Cocks shortly afterwards, but her swing struck nothing but fresh air.
Forgesson added the Kiwi’s fourth from close-range on 48 minutes, with Glynn having two efforts flash wide of Williams’ left post in as many minutes.
In a rare foray at the other end of the field, Stairs broke into the NZ circle and looked to unleash a shot on the reverse, a perfect opportunity, but also managed to swoosh only air, to the Kiwis’ relief.
Punt notched up her second with 10 left to play, firing in from open play again with a shot on the turn.
Lauren Logush replaced Williams in the Canadian goal with 8 minutes to play and was soon put to work making a great double save from Glynn and Petrea Webster respectively.
The Black Sticks won their seventh penalty corner as the full time hooter sounded, but the Canadians stood fast.
Speaking after the game, Canadian midfielder, Abigail Raye, said: “We knew New Zealand was going to be a tough game and tried the best we could and gave it our best effort.
“We have a very young team and a lot to work on and we are gradually getting building our game and improving, so it is good for us.”
Double-scorer Punt, from New Zealand said: “It was good to keep building from the South Africa game which was quite a tough one.
“We were competitive and worked well as a team, but there’s lots to improve on.”
Speaking on the prospect of playing England next, she said: “It will be good, it’s always tough, we just have to prepare, recover well, go out firing and build towards the final.”