Hockeyroos end win drought against China in Pro League

Ian ChadbandAAP
Goalie Jocelyn Bartram had a huge game for Australia as they beat China 2-0 in the FIH Pro League. (Dean Lewins/AAP PHOTOS)
Camera IconGoalie Jocelyn Bartram had a huge game for Australia as they beat China 2-0 in the FIH Pro League. (Dean Lewins/AAP PHOTOS) Credit: AAP

Australia's Hockeyroos have ended a wretched winless streak against China - but needed their keeper Jocelyn Bartram to be at her brilliant best to carve out the 2-0 win that's boosted their FIH Pro League hopes.

Bartram made a series of clutch saves as the Chinese, who had beaten Australia 3-0 in the reverse fixture in Bhubaneswar 10 days earlier, this time found the Roos a very different proposition at another Indian venue 300km north in Rourkela.

The Australians hadn't been able to get the better of China in any of their previous six internationals, with their last victory having come in the 6-0 thrashing at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

But after Grace Stewart had put them ahead in Wednesday's attritional affair, picking up the scraps after the ball had ricocheted around the circle following a penalty corner that the Chinese defence failed to clear, they were determined to hang on to what they'd got.

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They created the better chances but whenever under the cosh, Bartram, their 30-year-old keeper, was rock solid, stopping everything the Chinese could throw at her, including one magnificent save when Haiyan Huang bore down on her goal one-on-one.

Unable to break down the world No.3-ranked Aussies, China took off their own keeper in the dying minutes in a bid to risk everything on 11 outfielders clawing back the lead.

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But it backfired with three minutes left as the Aussies attacked down the left flank, Ambrosia Malone weaving in to find Steph Kershaw, who was able to slot home into the unprotected net to make it 2-0.

"I felt like the game went a lot smoother for us, instead of the first one against China. We took a lot out of that game and brought it into this one," said the Hockeyroos' Alice Arnott, who surprisingly got the nod ahead of Bartram as player of the match.

Australia have moved third in the table onto nine points, three behind world No.8 side China but with a game in hand.

There's just a 24-hour turnaround now for Australia, who play the US on Thursday at the same Rourkela venue.

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