Australia gain revenge in second test against Great Britain

Henry Weir goes head to head with Australias Jamie Dwyer. Credit Ravi Ghowry GB hockey1

Chris Griffiths 40 (FG)

Chris Ciriello 10, 55 (PC, PC)
Simon Orchard 24 (FG)
Blake Govers 39 (PC)
Jamie Dwyer 43 (FG)
Aran Zalewski 54 (FG)

Australia exacted immediate revenge over Bobby Crutchley’s side with a clinical display in the second test at Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre. Having gone down 3-1 to Great Britain at the weekend Graham Reid’s team hit back to score six times against a much changed home team. Chris Ciriello struck twice alongside goals from Jamie Dwyer, Blake Govers, Simon Orchard and Aran Zalewski to send the Kookaburras into the World League in buoyant mood.

Bobby Crutchley made five changes to the side that defeated the World Champions at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre on Saturday with Ollie Willars, Gordon McIntyre, Tom Carson, Chris Grassick and Ian Sloan replacing Ashley Jackson, Barry Middleton, Dan Fox, Iain Lewers and David Ames.

The game showcased a terrific display by the Kookaburras who started at an incredible pace. Simon Orchard tested George Pinner’s reflexes early on before Ciriello opened the scoring with a trademark penalty corner. Pinner was on his guard again moments later to make a superb save from a Kieran Govers piledriver as the Australians swarmed forwards at will. Great Britain’s best chance of the opening quarter fell to Sam Ward but his effort flashed wide and it was 1-0 going into the second period.

The second quarter was a physical battle with both sides competing fiercely for control of the game. Australia doubled their advantage as Orchard played a cross in from the left which found its way through a crowd of players and into the goal. Jacob Whetton almost made it 3-0 but Pinner excelled once again with a fine save.

James Bailey, a half time replacement in goal for Pinner made an excellent save to keep out a Ciriello penalty corner in the third quarter but there was nothing the Wimbledon stopper could do to keep out a rocket drag flick from Blake Govers which made it 3-0. Chris Griffiths squeezed the ball in from a narrow angle after some excellent approach play by Nick Catlin to reduce the arrears but Dwyer re-established the cushion with a fourth three minutes later.

The final quarter was played at a frantic pace and Australia added two more to their tally to put a gloss on the score. Zalewski pounced on a loose ball to rip a fierce shot into the roof of the net and then Ciriello found the top corner with a penalty corner to round off the scoring.

Great Britain Head Coach – Bobby Crutchley

“Inconsistent is the best way to describe our performance today. We played some good stuff at times but they came out all guns blazing, not surprisingly. For some of the guys who’ve not played Australia it was a good learning experience. When they’re in that sort of form the intensity is something else, so it’s good for some of our players to experience that.”

“Inconsistency creates momentum for the opposition which is what happened. They got more of the ball which put us under pressure and when they’re in that sort of form it’s perhaps not a surprise the result went the way it did. We’re disappointed obviously but they’ve done that to plenty of good teams in the past.”

“Our longer term aim is to broaden our squad and get the strength in depth so it was good to give people the opportunity today. We obviously have the Olympic Qualifiers at the forefront of our minds so we rested a couple with knocks just to be on the safe side. Nothing serious to worry about but it was worth resting those guys today, to make sure we’re well prepared for the World League. We’re pleased to get through today with no new injuries. It was a bit of a blood and guts game at times, but we’re in good shape in for the World League. I’m sure there will be some surprises at the tournament but how we adjust and how we cope will determine where we end up.”