KUALA LUMPUR: Group B favourites Malaysia and Ireland scored emphatic wins in the opening matches of the women’s World Hockey League Round Two at the Tun Razak Stadium.
While Malaysia thumped Hong Kong 9-0, Ireland did even better – trouncing Kazakhstan 12-0 – yesterday.
Hong Kong, who were roped in at the last minute following Fiji’s withdrawal, were clearly unprepared for the meet.
Nuraini Rashid was the star for Malaysia, who have never lost to Hong Kong in 13 prior outings, as she bagged a hat-trick.
Malaysia made heavy weather of the opening exchanges, but once they opened the scoring in the 17th minute through a Nurul Nabiha Mansur field goal, the floodgates opened.
World No. 21 Malaysia then ran riot, with goals from Siti Ruhani Othman (24th minute), Fazila Sylvester Silin (29th), Hanis Nadiah Onn (43rd), Noor Hasliza Ali (46th), Nuraini (48th, 56th, 70th) and Fatin Shukri (49th) sealing a convincing start.
Earlier, in another Group B match, Anna O’Flanagan scored four goals while Nicola Evans notched a hat-trick to steer Ireland to a 12-0 demolition of Kazakhstan.
O’Flanagan scored in the sixth, 19th, 40th and 58th minutes while Nicola was on target in the fifth, 20th and 35th minutes.
World No. 16 Ireland’s other scorers were Kathryn Mullan (48th), Chloe Watkins (48th), Rebecca Barry (51th), Gillian Finder (52) and Nicola Daly (59th).
In Group A, the tournament’s top seeds and world No. 15 Italy also got off to a winning start, beating Wales 3-0.
Eugenia Mastronardi put Italy ahead in the 14th minute before a Valentina Braconi brace in the 26th and 33rd minutes completed the rout.
In the other Group A match, Thailand dumped Singapore 4-0.
Only the top two teams from this tournament will qualify for the World League Semi-Finals – to be played in Brussel, Belgium (June 21-July 2) and Johannesburg, South Africa (July 8-22).