Hockeyroos deadlocked with China as Bone continues return from injury

BACK ON TRACK: Eddie Bone made her return from injury in her Hockeyroos' opening three games against China. Photo: WORLD SPORT PIX
BACK ON TRACK: Eddie Bone made her return from injury in her Hockeyroos' opening three games against China. Photo: WORLD SPORT PIX

Orange’s Eddie Bone and her Hockeyroos’ five-game series against China remains deadlocked heading into Friday night’s fourth match-up after a clinical performance from goalkeeper Rachael Lynch helped the Australians salvage a 1-1 draw on Wednesday evening.

After China took an early lead when Jiaqi Zhong converted a penalty corner and Ashlea Fey did the same in the 23rd minute to equalise, Lynch was called upon to make a number of classy, one-on-one saves in the dying stages.

She made no mistake, making her best save with an outstretched right boot to deny Guo Qiu’s powerful low shot, and even though a couple of Australian chances to move ahead sailed wide, without Lynch’s influence at the back the visitors would almost definitely have claimed victory.

The draw came after the classy Chinese side stunned the Australians and handed the hosts a 3-1 defeat in game one, before the Hockeyroos bounced back with an emphatic 5-0 win to level the series.

In the latter the Hockeyroos produced as classy a performance as they could have hoped for, shooting to 4-0 lead before half-time and adding another after the break to complete the dominant win.

Skipper Emily Smith, Renee Taylor, Fey and Madi Ratcliffe scored the quartet of first-half goals and Emily Hurtz added the fifth with a pinpoint reverse stick shot in the fourth quarter.

Bone started the first and third of the series’ games in her return to the world stage after an eight-month lay-off thanks to a knee injury, and has slotted back into the side seamlessly.

The 29-year-old Orange product will be looking to continue her good form in Friday night’s fourth game and Saturday’s fifth, in a bid to earn selection for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

The Hockeyroos’ series against China is basically the last chance they’ll have to press their claims for a spot at the Gold Coast, before the World Cup later on in the year as well.

Bone and her Hockeyroos teammates take on China in Friday night’s fourth game of the series from 9pm (AEDT), at Perth’s Guildford Grammar Turf.

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