Rampant Great Britain sink Kookaburras

Alastair Brogdon and Henry Weir celebrate 480 x 290

Great Britain 5 (3)
Henry Weir 9 (FG)
Chris Grassick 13 (FG)
Ian Sloan 23 (PC)
David Condon 32 (FG)
Phil Roper 49 (FG)

Australia 2 (1)
Jeremy Hayward 17 (PC)
Matt Gohdes 47 (FG)

Great Britain made it two wins from two with a superb display to see off World Champions Australia, running out 5-2 winners in a pulsating encounter in Raipur. Five different scorers registered for Bobby Crutchley’s side who put the Kookaburras to the sword in emphatic fashion to take control of Pool A.

The opening quarter was end-to-end as the sides grappled for control. In the ninth minute Great Britain drew first blood. Ian Sloan’s long pass into the circle found Henry Weir at the back post and although Tyler Lovell made the first save the Wimbledon man reacted well to stab in the rebound for his first Great Britain goal. It was almost 2-0 moments later as Dan Shingles found David Condon inside the circle but his lofted attempt went just over the bar.

Australia went close with two minutes left in the quarter. Glenn Turner freed Simon Orchard but he couldn’t lift the ball over the goalkeeper and Harry Gibson made a fine save. The Kookaburras were left to rue that miss when Great Britain doubled their advantage almost immediately. Chris Grassick showed terrific determination driving into the circle before calmly slotting home for his team’s second.

The second quarter was an absorbing 15 minutes. Australia pulled one back early on in the period through a Jeremy Hayward penalty corner. They then almost drew level. Jamie Dwyer teed up Dylan Wotherspoon but Gibson extended a left leg to make another fine save. At the other end a well-worked penalty corner restored the two goal cushion. Sloan’s low flick deflected off Tim Deavin and past Andrew Charter in the Australian goal. The Kookaburras forced another corner of their own but Kieran Govers’ shot went wide of the target and it remained 3-1 at the break.

Great Britain got their second half off to a dream start. Alastair Brogdon burst forward into space and fed Simon Mantell who showed good vision to cut the ball across first time to a sliding David Condon to steer home the fourth goal. Australia then won a penalty corner from a referral but James Bailey, a half time replacement in goal, did well to block Aran Zalewski’s deflection and then in the ensuing melee another corner was awarded. This time Dan Fox was alert and did brilliantly to block the shot and preserve the lead. Great Britain were being pushed onto the back foot and Dwyer blazed a good chance wide with the seconds ticking down in the quarter. There was still time for Mantell to thump a backhand strike into the chest of goalkeeper Tyler Lovell and it remained 4-1 heading into the final 15 minutes.

Australia gave themselves hope with a goal right at the start of the final quarter. Bailey made a good save from Dwyer but it broke to Matt Gohdes who unleashed a rocket strike into the roof of the net to reduce the arrears. That hope lasted just two minutes as Great Britain netted a fifth. Tim Whiteman showed terrific skills along the baseline and cut the ball back where Phil Roper volleyed in the fifth. Australia’s Simon Orchard stung Bailey’s body with a fierce strike and with the clock ticking down Australia threw everything at Great Britain. With Sam Ward unable to play through injury and the loss of Henry Weir in the first half, Great Britain tired late on; allowing Australia to dominate possession and territory in the final stages of the game. An outstanding rearguard action kept them at bay, however and secured a famous win for Bobby Crutchley’s side.

Next match is Tuesday 1 December as Great Britain take on Belgium at 15:00 UK time live on BT Sport.

Bobby Crutchley, Great Britain Head Coach:

“We’re delighted with the result. Some of the players really stepped up today and showed what they can do, but this is only one game and we need to back it up with a performance in the next game, too.

Some of our deep defence and goalkeeping was outstanding. We would have liked to play further forward and more attacking but we countered well and scored some good goals, so I’m very happy with that.

It was a tough physical battle as you expect when you face Australia but we did well to come through it. We’ve always said the best teams have 25 players capable of playing in these games and we want to build that sort of squad size for ourselves. Today was a step in the right direction but we aren’t getting carried away. We’ll gain confidence from this of course, but Belgium next is a tough game and a completely different style and different test to today. We’ll enjoy today but it won’t mean anything if we don’t back it up with more quality performances in the upcoming games.”