Men's Team settles for Bronze
THE Fiji Mens side finished third in the Oceania Pacific Cup (OPC) by beating Papua New Guinea in the bronze medal play-off at the National Hockey Turf yesterday.
The side was bundled out of the gold medal play-off by the Australia Country side 4-2 in their last pool game on Friday.
In yesterday's match, Fiji took an early break in the sixth minute thanks to quick goals via a penalty corner and a field thanks to brothers Adrian and Hector Smith respectively. Fiji led 2-0 at halftime.
A brace of goals from Terrence Corrie via field goals, extended Fiji's lead to 4-0 before Sapau Tapo pulled one back for PNG through a field goal in the 54th minute.
Adrian Smith capped off a fine performance with his second goal and Fiji's fifth ten minutes from the end.
Their finish means they carry on the tradition of winning a medal at every tournament since its inception four years ago.
In 2008, Fiji won bronze and then for next two successive years (2009 and 2010) the side had been winning silver and team captain Hector Smith Junior said winning the bronze is a consolation for the side.
"Yesterday (Friday) was a very emotional time for us because for three years in a row we were not able to put them away," said Smith.
"When we came this morning (yesterday) we just boosted each one knowing that Papua New Guinea was coming out to beat us," he said.
"Winning the bronze is what we did not expect, we knew we had to go out hard today (yesterday)."
Meanwhile, the New Zealand barbarians side won their fourth consecutive OPC title when they beat Australia Country 6-5 via penalty shoot-out after both sides were locked 3-3 at full-time.
Also, the Fiji womens U-23 side was placed fourth in the womens grade after they lost in the bronze medal play-off to PNG 0-2.