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New Zealand stay at the top of the table
26 Jun 2007 20:55
 


Day 3 action here at the BDO Champions Challenge in Boom saw Argentina score an important win against Japan, New Zealand maintain their perfect record by defeating England, and a spirited Indian side teach a lesson to hosts Belgium.

The day started off with the encounter between Argentina and Japan. Argentina started into the match looking good, seemingly well-recovered from the a disappointing performance on Sunday that meant defeat by the home team. The South Americans did well however to convert their head start into early goals with Pedro Ibarra putting away a penalty corner and Rodri Vila taking advantage of another, hitting home the rebound off another Ibarra short corner.

As time wore on, Japan became stronger and Argentina lost momentum. The Asians found a steady rhythm and were unlucky not to score but faced opponents that clung to their lead with all they had. The fraying nerves on the Argentine side brought a wholly avoidable yellow card for captain Mario Almada with them, but the team of Sergio Vigil were able to maintain their lead and bag three points to stay near the top of the table.

The second match between New Zealand and England was a more even affair from start to finish, but two penalty corner goals by penalty corner ace Hayden Shaw gave the Kiwis the base for another victory. Rob Moore managed top get one in for his team, but a penalty stroke eight minutes from the end, converted by Dean Couzins, put the Blacksticks out of reach to take home three points that give them the solitary table lead.

Wrapping up a cold and windy day, home team Belgium came out against an Indian side that reminded of good days in the past. Joaquim Carvalho's side played happy hockey today, highly motivated and energetic, and the flustered home team was no match for them.

Sandeep Singh opened the scoring with a cracking flick just under the crossbar at a penalty corner, soon followed by goal number two, scored by Prabjhot Singh who coolly took advantage of a mistake in the Belgian defense.

Belgium's new penalty corner superstar Gregory Gucasoff was able to pull one back for his team, sinking another excellent flick, but Shivendra Singh soon restored the lead, scooping in a shot bouncing back from the post.

After the break, Belgium started to look better as time wore on and was able to keep India at bay but it wasn't enough to get back into the match who eventually even had to concede a fourth goal when Dilip Tirkey hit a penalty corner past goalkeeper Cedric Degreve.

Halfway through the BDO Champions Challenge, New Zealand are thus solitary table leaders with nine points from three matches, closely followed by Argentina and India who have both won two of their three encounters so far. Belgium and Japan follow with one win each, while England trail behind, not having won any points so far. In the list of goal scorers, Hayden Shaw of New Zealand is the solitary leader with fives goals, followed by Gregory Gucasoff of Belgium and Jorge Lombi of Argentina on three goals each.

After another rest day on Wednesday, action resumes on Thursday with England meeting Japan, Argentina taking on India, and hosts Belgium stepping up to table leaders New Zealand.

For more from the BDO Champions Challenge in Boom, visit the WorldHockey tournament site.


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