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Hockeyroos lose to China in three-match series despite best efforts of star WA defender Penny Squibb

Headshot of Cameron Newbold
Cameron NewboldGreat Southern Herald
Tambellup hockey star Penny Squibb drives the ball forward against China at Bunbury Hockey Stadium.
Camera IconTambellup hockey star Penny Squibb drives the ball forward against China at Bunbury Hockey Stadium. Credit: Shannon Verhagen

Tambellup’s Penny Squibb nearly produced a wonderful strike to hand the Hockeyroos a last-gasp win in their opening match of the series against China in Bunbury last week.

The Hockeyroos faced China in a three-match series and played in front of a packed crowd at Bunbury Hockey Stadium on Thursday.

Each side had a number of chances on goal in the opening match and it ultimately ended in a nil-all draw despite the best efforts of WA star Squibb.

Hockeyroos defender Penny Squibb takes control.
Camera IconHockeyroos defender Penny Squibb takes control. Credit: Shannon Verhagen

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In her first regional WA game in national colours, Squibb nearly broke the deadlock with 12 seconds left in the match after the Hockeyroos won their first penalty corner.

Squibb’s drag flick from the penalty corner crashed into the post, much to the despair of the vocal home crown, and the match ended without a goal being scored.

The series then moved to the Perth Hockey Stadium but Australia lost on Saturday and Sunday respectively.

China wrapped up a series victory with a 4-3 triumph over the Hockeyroos on Sunday.

Renee Taylor gave the Hockeyroos the early lead in the series decider but China’s Bingfeng Gu hit back quickly to level the scores.

A set piece conversion from Yanan Xu handed the visitors the lead after nine minutes and both sides continued to press for another goal.

The Hockeyroos defend their goal.
Camera IconThe Hockeyroos defend their goal. Credit: Shannon Verhagen

Squibb had two drag flicks denied but instead of a third attempt she flicked the ball to Taylor who tied scores in the 36th minute.

A superb tomahawk strike from Meiyu Liang gave China the lead back but with nine minutes left Rosie Malone made it 3-3.

The hosts were denied a win, however, as Jiaqi Zhong snuck a ball into the net at the back post in the 55th minute to hand China the spoils in the high-scoring affair.

Tambellup hockey star Penny Squibb.
Camera IconTambellup hockey star Penny Squibb. Credit: Shannon Verhagen

On Saturday the Hockeyroos lost 2-0 after first-half goals from Gu and Xindan Zang proved the difference.

Both goals came inside the first 16 minutes of play and despite a host of chances in the second half the home side couldn’t eat into China’s advantage.

In the absence of Jane Claxton, Squibb was named captain in game two of the series.

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