Great Britain Men too strong for France.

Barry Middleton in action

Great Britain 9                                  1 France
                             (Half-time 3-1)

Tom Carson 11, 44, 55 (FG PC FG)   Hugo Genestet, 8 (PC)
Adam Dixon 19 (PC)
Barry Middleton 24 (FG)
Harry Martin 34 (FG)
David Beckett 35 (FG)
David Condon 55 (PC)
Phil Roper 60, (FG)

A hat-trick from Reading’s Tom Carson helped Great Britain to a convincing win over France with a dominant display. Despite falling behind to Hugo Genestet’s early penalty corner it was almost one-way traffic thereafter as seven different players got their names on the scoresheet for Bobby Crutchley’s side.

Despite a high tempo start from the home side it was the French who took the lead in the eighth minute. Hugo Genestet’s high drag flick found the net beyond goalkeeper James Bailey to his right.

It took Great Britain just three minutes to restore parity. Debutant Sam Ward did well to get away down the right and crossed for Tom Carson who made no mistake to make it 1-1.

Both Mark Gleghorne and Ward went close before the quarter was out but it wasn’t until the 19th minute that Great Britain took the lead through an Adam Dixon penalty corner. Four minutes later, Captain Barry Middleton won the ball high up the pitch and drove into the circle before giving Edgar Reynaud in the French goal no chance with a splendid reverse stick strike.

Great Britain picked up where they left off after the break and Harry Martin and David Beckett added two more within a minute of each other to make the score 5-1. The strike was Beckett’s first goal in senior international hockey. David Condon got in on the act with the sixth and Carson grabbed another from a penalty corner. There was no let up as Reynaud did well to keep out a penalty corner from Dan Coultas before Carson grabbed his hat-trick from a well-worked open play goal. There was still time for Wimbledon’s Phil Roper to get his name on the scoresheet with a lovely flicked finish over the goalkeeper’s shoulder, making the score 9-1, before the final whistle.

Great Britain will play France in the second match of the series starting at 11am on Friday 17 October 2014 at Bisham Abbey NSC.

Quotes – England Head Coach Bobby Crutchley

On the performance today:
“At this stage we’re looking primarily at the performance. Teams are at different stages of preparation and that’s why sometimes you get scores like this. I was pleased that we kept the intensity in the game throughout. It wasn’t perfect but we built some momentum and some dominance and then score took care of itself.”

On the purpose of the game today:
“We’re trying to tweak a few things in order to make steps forward from the summer. We’ve worked hard in training and these games give us the opportunity to see what works. It didn’t all come off today but there were good signs. We’re bringing things from training into the games and that shows we’re not just training for training’s sake. There was evidence of improvements but it’s a part of a longer process.”

On playing as Great Britain:
“With the Great Britain programme we’re central all the time so it doesn’t feel like much of a change. The non-English players are with us a lot and it’s great to give them the opportunity to play a bit more. It’ll be the same when we go to Spain in November.”

Looking ahead to tomorrow’s game:
“We’ll look at the video and see what we can improve but we hope to produce more of the same.

It’s a physical and a mental challenge to back up a good performance with another the following day. One of the things we want to be is a mentally tough team. It can be hard to go from a big win or a big loss against the same team the next day. They will come out strong tomorrow and it’ll be interesting to see if we ease off which I don’t want, or if we rise to the challenge and play better.

We’ll focus on our game, trying to dominate the opposition and keep the ball. There were some great signs today but it was a one off game and we start again tomorrow.”

Note: Both matches are being played as four quarters lasting 15 minutes each, in accordance with the International Hockey Federation (FIH) rule change which came into effect on 1 September 2014. This is the format that will be used in the upcoming Champions Trophy. You can find out more about the rule changes here.

Click here to find out squad and caps information.

Click here for official match summary.

Click here for official match report sheet.

France are one of the sides in action when Eurohockey 2015 comes to London’s Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre. England will face Netherlands, Spain and Russia. For all the details of the competition and how to get tickets, click here.