Den Bosch’s star striker Frédérique Matla was named player of the match in the Netherlands’ second game of the weekend against China, starting their Pro League title defence with back-to-back victories.
On Saturday, the Dutch swept by the Asian side 3-0 with Ginella Zerbo netting twice with her SCHC club mate Laurien Leurink getting the other.
On Sunday, HC Oranje-Rood’s Laura Nunnink’s speculative backhand strike somehow squeezing between the legs of China goalkeeper Ye Jiao just five minutes in.
Marloes Keetels – a team mate of Matla’s at Den Bosch – took the Dutch lead to 2-0 midway through the second quarter before China’s Peng Yang reduced the deficit on the stroke of half time, rifling home a wonderful backhand strike to give her team hope.
However, close range finishes from Lidewij Welten, another player set for the EHL FINAL8 with Den Bosch, and Matla put the result beyond all doubt before China’s Chen Ye netted a late consolation goal.
Speaking after the match, Matla said: “I’m really happy because we haven’t had the longest preparation. We are really glad that we started this year with two wins. We still have to sharpen it up because we have to show that we are the best – we want to show that to the world.”
The next women’s Pro League action sees the Netherlands travel to the USA in two weeks time for a double-header while Belgium start their campaign in Australia.
In the men’s competition, the competition gets underway next Saturday when the Netherlands face India at the Kalinga Stadium who are making their debut. The next week, Germany face Spain and Australia host Belgium.