Great Britain's men reach Azlan Shah Cup Final

Great Britain celebrate against New Zealand
Great Britain have booked their place in the Azlan Shah Cup Final where they will face nine time champions Australia.

GB's final spot was confirmed when hosts Malaysia pulled off a 1-0 win over India following Great Britain's 3-2 win over New Zealand earlier in the day.

The final against the Kookaburras will take place at 1.35pm UK time. 

In their match against the Black Sticks, Sam Ward gave GB a first quarter lead before Dominic Newman levelled for the Black Sticks against the run of play.

Strikes from Phil Roper and Mark Gleghorne put GB into a deserved lead but a late strike from Kane Russell made for a tense finale.

The team's place in the final was confirmed when hosts Malaysia pulled off a 1-0 victory over India which saw GB stay second and set up their Saturday showdown with Australia.

After the game head coach Bobby Crutchley said: "It was a very good performance in stifling heat. I felt we dominated the game.

"If we had a better conversion rate from the chances we created, the scoreline would have been more comfortable."

Great Britain line up ahead of their match with New Zealand
 
GB flew out of the blocks and stormed into the lead through Sam Ward from their first penalty corner. Ward’s drag flick proving too good for Devon Manchester in the New Zealand goal.

Further chances were created before the end of the first quarter with both Alan Forsyth and Mark Gleghorne going close to extending the lead.

New Zealand responded in the second quarter and enjoyed more possession, however it was still GB who looked the more dangerous. Henry Weir carved out an opening and David Goodfield fired just wide with his reverse stick strike. 

It looked as though GB would take their lead into the half-time break but in the final minute New Zealand levelled. Dominic Newman collected in the circle and fired high and hard past Harry Gibson.

From the restart GB were immediately on the front foot winning three penalty corners in the opening three minutes, but goalkeeper Manchester was twice at his best to deny Gleghorne. 

They kept up this intensity and were eventually rewarded when Phil Roper was on hand to restore the lead. Alan Forsyth’s initial attempt was saved but Roper reacted quickly to mop up the rebound.

GB’s domination continued into the final quarter and they soon extended their lead in style. A deft flicked pass from Forsyth across goal was met by Gleghorne who cleverly steered past Manchester.

However there was to be a twist in the tail as New Zealand pulled one back through Kane Russell’s penalty corner to make for a nervy finish. 

However GB responded and thought they had another goal of their own through Forsyth, but this was overturned and the final whistle sounded soon after.

With England and Scotland both preparing for World Cup qualifiers in London this summer, and Wales with a player in the British squad for the first time in recent years, there is a huge summer of hockey ahead for the home nations.

Harry Gibson (GK), Brendan Creed, Liam Sandford, Jonathan Griffiths, Barry Middleton, James Gall, Phil Roper (C), Daniel Kyriakides, Tom Carson, Alan Forsyth, Mark Gleghorne

Subs (Used): Ollie Willars, Henry Weir, Ian Sloan, Sam Ward, David Goodfield Subs (Not used): Chris Wyver (GK), Christopher Griffiths