Home Business No retirement plans for Eddie Ockenden after Kookaburra beat India at Commonwealth...

No retirement plans for Eddie Ockenden after Kookaburra beat India at Commonwealth Games


The Aussie side, nicknamed the Kookaburra, scored 29 goals in their unbeaten run, adding 10 more in the final two matches.

In the blistering midday sun at the University of Birmingham complex, the Kookaburras shone in the first half to put five goals past the Indian defenders to leave the world’s fourth-ranked team shell-shocked and unable to recover in a 7-0 defeat.

Tom Wickham celebrates after scoring Australia’s fourth goal. credit:Getty Images

Blake Gowers continued his brilliant form in front of goal in this competition, scoring his seventh goal in the opening minutes with a powerful conversion from a penalty corner.

Jacob Anderson (2 goals), Nathan Ephraums (2) and Tim Wickham all combined to put the result beyond doubt. Flynn Ogilvie scored his first goal of the tournament in the final match.

The talented Indian team was dealt a killer blow when they lost their captain Manpreet Singh in the second quarter in a tough clash with Australian skipper Aran Zalewski. Singh left the field with a collarbone injury and the Kookaburras took advantage of his absence.

Tom Wickham and Neelakantha Sharma battle for the ball.

Tom Wickham and Neelakantha Sharma battle for the ball. credit:

A large contingent of Australians in the packed stands began to sing Matilda in a waltz in the dying moments with a result that helps soothe the heartache of last year’s Olympic final penalty shootout loss to Belgium.

“It was unbelievable,” Ockenden said.

“You won’t find anything else in your life that you can do so passionately. I’ve been very fortunate to play hockey for so long and to do what I’m good at.”

Co-captain Aran Zalewski said the Kookaburras were building “a great dynasty”.

The 31-year-old, who grew up in Margaret River, south of Perth, has kicked three goals in the competition and has been an ever-present for the Kookaburra at their biggest tournaments since late 2013.

“We’re really proud of the history we have,” Zalewski said. “Every team that comes in is a different team (but) we know we have to come out and perform. We love it and we’re proud to do well here.”

He said Ockenden “still looks like a handful” in a squad where competition for a place in the starting line-up is fierce in the build-up to next year’s World Cup.

“We can draw on so many experiences that he’s been through… the ups, the downs, the things that don’t matter. Just to have someone who’s so calm under pressure, he’s a humble guy and a good person.”

India captain Manpreet Singh, with his arm in a sling, said Australia’s attacking pressure was preventing his team from playing their game.

“It was not the result we wanted. A good fight, a closer result…then we’d be happy, but it’s not the result we wanted. We could have done more, we could have created more opportunities, but we didn’t play our best game,” Singh said.

“This is the best hockey in the world, they are one of the best teams in the world. You can’t make mistakes against such teams.”

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