Great Britain blitz China in World League rout

Mark Gleghorne for GB against China480 x 290

Great Britain (3)
Nick Catlin 4, 55 (FG, FG)
Sam Ward 18, 43 (FG, FG)
Mark Gleghorne 23, 36 (FG, PC)
Ashley Jackson 38 (FG)
Alastair Brogdon 42 (FG)

China (1)
Zecheng Li 26 (PC)

Great Britain ran riot against the World No32 China, firing in eight goals to pick up their first win of the competition and sending them into Sunday’s clash with Malaysia in fine form. Doubles from Nick Catlin, Sam Ward and Mark Gleghorne alongside strikes from Ashley Jackson and Alastair Brogdon did the damage with Zecheng Li pulling one back for China.

Great Britain got off to the perfect start, taking the lead inside the first five minutes. Ashley Jackson broke free down the left and fed Barry Middleton who fired the ball goalwards. Although his shot was saved by Rui Xu, David Condon’s ball back across was tapped in on the volley by Nick Catlin. Xu then excelled himself with a fine save to block from Mark Gleghorne from close range as Great Britain hunted a second goal. Zhixuan Zhang broke into the circle with a lovely piece of skill and his shot hit a defender’s foot to win a penalty corner. Yixian Lu went for goal but George Pinner got down well to make the save and it stayed 1-0 at the break.

China threatened first in the second quarter and Middleton almost deflected the ball into his own net as he tried to clear. Great Britain hit back and doubled their advantage in the 18th minute. David Ames broke free and set up Middleton. His fierce shot was diverted past the goalkeeper by Sam Ward to open his account for the tournament. Mark Gleghorne then made it 3-0 with a low shot into the bottom corner from just inside the circle as Bobby Crutchley’s side continued to dominate their opponents.

China clawed one back late in the half. Tim Whiteman conceded a penalty corner, picking up a yellow card in the process and although Pinner saved the first effort Zecheng Li was on hand to slot in the rebound, making it 3-1 at the half time break.

Early in the third quarter Bobby Crutchley’s side cut China apart almost at will. Middleton almost set up David Condon with a pinpoint aerial pass but the East Grinstead man couldn’t get the ball under control and Xu made the save. Then Brogdon blazed over from the right side of the circle before they won their first penalty corner in the 36th minute. Up stepped Gleghorne to beat Xu with a powerful flick to the goalkeeper’s left for his second and GB’s fourth. China replaced Xu and brought on Rongyao Yan in goal but the substitute goalkeeper’s first action was to pick the ball out of the net after a searing backhand strike from Jackson made it 5-1. Brogdon seized on a mix-up in the Chinese defence to make it six and then immediately afterwards Michael Hoare’s cross was turned in by Ward to make it 7-1.

Great Britain won a penalty corner at the start of the final quarter. Gleghorne lined up in search of his hat-trick but his effort flew wide. It was 8-1 with just over five minutes to go. Catlin jinked past the defender and hit a bullet shot into the bottom corner to notch his second. Great Britain forced another corner but Jackson whipped his effort over the top. Ward almost grabbed his third with a deft deflection from a Jackson pass but the goalkeeper made a good save and the score remained 8-1 at the final whistle.

Great Britain’s next match is against Malaysia on Sunday 28 June at 13:00 UK time.

Quotes - Great Britain Captain Barry Middleton

Obviously 8-1 is a good result it’s what we’ve wanted after the first couple of results. I thought we did well. We put our game out there, we were patient, kept the ball and made them work hard. It’s hard work to win by seven goals and people don’t see that sometimes. We need to get some rest and take some time off. We’ll look at the video and prepare like we always do for the next game. We’ll try to put our game on them, control the play and be good around the circle.

Great Britain Head Coach – Bobby Crutchley

“We were good today. Early on they gave us some trouble but once we negated that we controlled the game. We could’ve been more clinical but we’re pleased to get some goals. It’s great to see our strikers get on the board, but generally it was good we got a game in quickly which allowed us to get frustrations out from the last match. Today it was important to put in a good performance. We’re not really worried about other results, we’re aiming to peak at the right time. We know these tournaments are about the key games and making sure you play well in those, so after a slow start hopefully we’re playing into form for the most important games. Malaysia next will be a difficult challenge. They’re experienced and played well today against Ireland. They play a different style but we’ll be going for another win and hopefully progressing and improving each game.”

Don't forget you can see Bobby Crutchley's England side in action this summer as World Class international hockey returns to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park for the Unibet EuroHockey Championships 2015. Details are available on the tournament website.