The one with the privileges, explained

Dan Fox adopts the role of kicking back

In the 50th minute of last night’s match with Brazil, Bobby Crutchley replaced goalkeeper George Pinner with forward Sam Ward. Substitutions in hockey are no rare thing with almost 100 happening per side during each game. This change however piqued many people’s interests as hockey fans and laymen alike may not have seen too many of these types of changes.

The move resulted in Dan Fox donning a green shirt as Great Britain moved to playing with 11 outfield players and no goalkeeper. The significance of the green shirted player or “kicking back” is that the chosen player has “goalkeeping privileges”. That is to say, whilst they are not wearing all the protective gear of a normal goalkeeper, they can save the ball in the same way George Pinner would. Think of it in terms of how you’d play football in the playground during your school days with “Rush Goalie” and you are pretty much spot on.

By and large you’ll see this move late on in a game when a team needs to salvage a match they are behind in. You know the sort of shot to nothing, last chance saloon Hail Mary-type situation. That said, it can be used to great effect as a genuine tactic with time left as the four goals in ten minutes Crutchley’s side plundered will testify.

Knowing Brazil were flagging and with the knowledge that unlike football, no one can score from outside the area, Crutchley used the extra man to create an overload and to stretch the hosts’ defence, resulting in the four goal flurry we saw. It is a tactic the coach should be applauded for using and hopefully one that we have made a little clearer here!