The hockey matches for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games have been announced, with the Australian national sides setting their sights on gold.
The Australian Hockeyroos will face the New Zealand Black Sticks in a blockbuster Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medal rematch in the preliminary pool matches in Birmingham following the release of the hockey schedule for the Games.
The Gold Coast 2018 silver medallist Hockeyroos side will begin their campaign against Kenya on Saturday 30 July at 2:00pm local time (11:00pm Saturday night AEST), backing up the next day to take on South Africa before turning their attention to the New Zealand squad.
The Hockeyroos will be joined in Pool B by New Zealand, South Africa, Scotland and Kenya.
Women’s Hockey Pool A consists of host nation England, India, Canada, Wales and Ghana.
Hockeyroos coach and Kuala Lumpur 1998 gold medallist Katrina Powell believes the opportunity to take on the Black Sticks will provide a great challenge and showcase the progress of her young squad.
“I’m really keen for that rematch from 2018 against New Zealand to happen. That gold medal match in 2018 was a really difficult game,” Powell said.
“But for us, it is all about us.
“We’re still in that phase of who are the Hockeyroos and what do we play like so that’s what our focus is on.
“It’s fantastic to have that awareness of who we are going to come up against and when we are going to play and how the tournament is mapped out.
“Of the teams in our Pool, Scotland and Kenya will be more of the unknowns.
“We played South Africa in a practice match before last year’s Olympics so we have seen a little bit of them and they are also in our World Cup pool so we will have faced them not long prior to the Commonwealth Games starting.”
“A Commonwealth Games silver medal is a great achievement but we want to beat our cousins from New Zealand every opportunity we get to play them.”
The Kookaburras, reigning Commonwealth Games gold medallists, will begin their Birmingham campaign with a match up against Scotland on 9:00am on Sunday 31 July (Sunday 6:00pm AEST), before facing New Zealand on 1 August, a repeat of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medal final.
Australia’s men’s national side has an incredible record at the Commonwealth Games, winning all six gold on offer at the Commonwealth Games, and losing just one game since the introduction of team sports at the Kuala Lumpur 1998 Commonwealth Games.
If the Kookaburras are able to achieve the golden feat, Kookaburras stalwart Eddie Ockenden is on track to become only the second four-time hockey gold medallist in Commonwealth Games history, joining Mark Knowles OAM who achieved the feat on the Gold Coast.
Kookaburras coach Colin Batch believes there is an incredible momentum in the national program on the back of the Tokyo Olympics silver medal and the squad is excited for the upcoming Birmingham Games.
“We have been eagerly waiting the announcement of the Pools and the schedule so now we can start our finer planning. We’re really excited to play at the Commonwealth Games,” Batch said.
“It’s a tournament we have done well in and we’re looking forward to the opportunity of playing the four teams we have been drawn against.
“I think that’s the unknown. With the Commonwealth Games you meet teams that you may not have played against for some time and Scotland is one of those. Playing them first up we will be diligent around preparing for them.
“New Zealand we know about… they will have some changes from Tokyo last year, and Pakistan are an unknown. They weren’t in Tokyo and will be keen to perform well at this level.
“South Africa had some surprise results in Tokyo so I feel we know as much about them as any of the other teams we meet… and they have also being playing Pro League so that will be something for us to sink our teeth into when we do our scouting.”
“For others outside the team it probably does but we will have a number of players who haven’t been to the Commonwealth Games.
“The way that we approach it is this is a tournament to win, rather than getting too caught up with the history.
“It’s something to look forward to, it will be our major tournament of this year and we are building nicely towards it.”
The Kookaburras will be joined in Pool A by New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan and Scotland.
Men’s Hockey Pool B consists of India, England, Canada, Wales and Ghana.
Following the International Hockey Federation’s (FIH) confirmation last week of the teams taking part in the competition, Birmingham 2022 has unveiled the full match schedule for the men’s and women’s tournaments.
Both the women’s and the men’s competitions will begin on Friday 29 July, with the opening session of the women’s tournament featuring reigning champions New Zealand against Kenya and South Africa playing Scotland.
Hosts, England, will face Ghana in the first match of the men’s competition with New Zealand facing Scotland in the same session.
There will be a home nations clash on 31 July, when England’s men’s team takes on Wales and both England teams, who each won bronze medals on the Gold Coast in 2018, will be taking on India in the group stages, with the men’s team facing them on 1 August and the England women’s match against India taking place the following day.
The final of the women’s event will be held on Sunday 7 August and will be part of a super Sunday for women’s sport at the Games, with the final of the netball tournament and the final of the first ever Commonwealth Games women’s cricket T20 tournament being held on the same day.
The men’s final will be played on Monday 8 August, just a few hours before the Closing Ceremony.
There will be 54 hockey matches in total, with 40 group games, six classification matches, four semi-finals, four medal matches and all of these matches will be played at the University of a Birmingham, the official competition venue for hockey at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
The 20 hockey teams taking part in the Games will also use the University of Birmingham’s world-class hockey facilities for training until competition gets underway and then the teams will be able to make use of the newly upgraded pitch at Wyndley Leisure Centre in Sutton Coldfield for training.
To be in the stands in Birmingham supporting the Australian Team, for the first time Australian families and fans will be able to access group tickets for all events at the Commonwealth Games.
The Family & Fans Tour ensures Australian families and fans can sit and cheer together, stay together and play together at the Birmingham Games.
Tour packages are available for all sports; however, numbers are limited.
Bookings are now open, learn more about the Family & Fans Tour below.
BIRMINGHAM 2022 FAMILY & FANS TOUR
The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games is coming – and you could be there to witness history in the making.LEARN MORE
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