GB men training in France

Henry Weir during their un-capped friendly against Scotland at Lilleshall National Sports Centre 2013

From 4-6 March the GB men's squad is out for training in Lille, France, along with two capped matches against the French squad.

Match 1

Great Britain 0

France 0

Dan Fox took the captain’s armband as Great Britain played their first of two matches against France out in Lille yesterday afternoon. Head Coach Bobby Crutchley fielded a side full of Great Britain debutants as he left the six players who have recently competed in the Hockey India League back at home.

Goalless draws are not a common sight in hockey, but that was the score after 70 minutes had been played between these two sides. Despite starting quite strongly and forcing early penalty corners, Great Britain were unable to convert any of their chances. Making his GB debut in goal James Bailey had to be sharp as France came back into the game towards half-time.

The second half was quite an even affair - GB had some good possession when attacking, but the French side were able to push their defensive opportunities as the final pass often let the GB side down.

Speaking after the game, Crutchley said, “Our performance was lacklustre out there today and I’m disappointed with the way we played. We were inconsistent across the 70 minutes and we didn’t put France under enough pressure which resulted in us not scoring. We need to create better opportunities by having a greater intensity in our attacking play and I will very much be hoping to see more of that tomorrow.”

Great Britain Men's Squad

Started:

James Bailey – GB debut
Michael Hoare - GB debut
Ollie Willars - GB debut
Dan Fox (Captain)
Andy Bull
Henry Weir - GB debut
Nick Catlin
David Condon - GB debut
Dan Beckett - GB debut
Tom Carson - GB debut
Chris Grassick - GB debut

Substitutes used:

Ben Arnold - GB debut
Phil Roper - GB debut
Ali Brogdon
Tim Whiteman - GB debut
Dan Coultas - GB debut

Did not play:

Patrick Smith


Match 2

Great Britain 3 (3)

Phil Roper 5 (FG)
Nick Catlin 13, 21 (FG, FG)

France 3 (1)

Guillaume Deront 30 (PC)
Simon Martin-Brisac 43 (FG)
Hugo Genestet 45 (FG)

Following a goal drought yesterday France and Great Britain made up for it in match two today, scoring six goals between them before the final whistle. Once again there was nothing to separate the two sides as they battled to another draw.

It was a much brighter opening from Great Britain and with three goals scored inside 21 minutes it seemed like the match would only go in one direction as France struggled to compete with the intensity levels demonstrated by the visitors.

Wimbledon’s Phil Roper scored his first goal for Great Britain in the fifth minute with a reverse stick effort from 10 yards out after Ben Arnold had made a driving run into the danger area to slip the ball to Roper.

Great Britain continued to put the pressure on France causing their defence problems. In the 13th minute an excellent team move down the right resulted in the ball being driven onto a French foot in the circle and Reading’s Nick Catlin seized on the advantage played by the Belgian umpire to tap the ball home from close range.

Catlin only had to wait another eight minutes before he secured his brace; this time his goal came from a Great Britain penalty corner. The corner initially broke down at the top of the circle when the ball was mis-trapped, but Catlin was waiting wide left to receive the resulting pass and he made no mistakes as he smashed the ball into the far corner past the French goalkeeper.

Great Britain might have started to think they had the victory secured at three goals in, but a determined French side came back into the game with renewed vigour and pulled three goals back to earn the draw. Their first goal came just before the break in the 30th minute for Guillaume Deront from a deflected penalty corner and then following the break they scored twice in two minutes.

An unmarked Simon Martin-Brisac got the first from close range as Great Britain were punished for some slack defending and Hugo Genestet scored just two minutes later, again from close range, after a wide ball was fired in across England’s circle to the far post.

Speaking after the second game Great Britain Head Coach Bobby Crutchley said, “It was a much improved performance from us today with a greater intensity in our attacking play and overall we should have won the game. Slack defending at the start of the second half cost us and although we created some good chances later in the game we weren’t able to convert them into goals.”

“I was pleased to be able to name [Holcombe’s] Dan Fox to be captain for these two matches in the absence of Barry [Middleton]. Dan’s leadership skills in the group have been clear for some time, even when he’s not captain, and he has qualities that I know both the players and coaching staff really value.”

Started:
Patrick Smith – GB debut
Michael Hoare
Ollie Willars
Dan Fox
Henry Weir
Andy Bull
Nick Catlin
Chris Grassick
Phil Roper
Tom Carson
Ben Arnold

Substitutes used:
Alastair Brogdon
David Condon
David Beckett
Tim Whiteman
Dan Coultas

Did not play:
James Bailey


GB Men's Squad list

Player - Club

Ben Arnold - Beeston
James Bailey (GK) - Reading
David Beckett - Cannock
Alastair Brogdon - Wimbledon
Andy Bull - East Grinstead
Tom Carson - Reading
Nick Catlin - Reading
Darren Cheesman - Reading
David Condon - East Grinstead
Dan Coultas - Holcombe
Dan Fox - Holcombe
Chris Grassick - Surbiton
Michael Hoare - Wimbledon
Phil Roper - Wimbledon
Patrick Smith (GK) - Cannock
Henry Weir - Wimbledon
Tim Whiteman - Beeston
Ollie Willars - Beeston