THE Kookaburras were held to a 0-0 draw by The Netherlands at the Champions Trophy, thwarted by an extraordinary display of goalkeeping from Dutchman Jaap Stockmann on Sunday.
Stockmann produced a breathtaking array of saves in a high-quality match between the two highest-ranked teams in Pool B at the tournament featuring the world's top eight nations.
Australia will consider themselves unlucky not to have won, having had far more chances, a swag of penalty corners, but no answer at Melbourne's State Hockey Centre to one of the world's finest keepers. The teams spent most of the first 35 minutes dancing around each other in a tense stand-off.
Stockmann gave a taste of the frustration he was to dish out to the Australians in the 23rd minute with a remarkable stop, diving full length to his left and getting a glove on Eddie Ockenden's thunderous shot. Then he led the Dutch in repelling a series of penalty corners, and the keeper also managed to stop a Kieran Govers shot bound for goal before half-time.
Stockmann matched the quality of his first half saves two minutes after the break, again diving high to his left to stop a Govers drag flick. Kookaburras goalkeeper George Bazeley also made two important second-half stops.
The draw does no damage to Australia's hopes of winning a fifth successive Champions Trophy. The Kookaburras' remaining pool match, against Pakistan on Tuesday night, still gives them a chance to top their pool. Earlier, England stunned Olympic champions Germany 4-1.