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REPORT: Great Britain 2-3 Belgium

GBBEL
A late goal from Florent van Aubel secured a 3-2 win for Belgium over Great Britain in the Toshiba TVs Schools International at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre.

Over 2,500 school children packed into the stadium and were inspired by watching two world-class teams in action.

1,300 children from East London Schools attended as well as from schools from across the country.

The match also saw Great Britain and England legend Barry Middleton make his 150th appearance for GB, taking his overall international appearance tally to 425.

Meanwhile Rhys Smith, Zach Wallace and Jack Waller all made their senior debuts for Great Britain

GB took the lead through David Condon before Cedric Charlier deflected home to equalise before half-time. Tom Boon put the visitors ahead before the late drama unfolded. Chris Griffiths looked to have rescued a point when he scored on 57 minutes but van Aubel was on hand to grab a late winner.

The game began at a good pace with both sides showing a lot of intensity with the first goal of the match arriving after 10 minutes.

Debutant Rhys Smith collected the ball and neatly turned his man before finding Sam Ward in the circle, his shot was straight at the keeper but the ball fell kindly to Condon to tuck home from close range.

The visitors responded almost immediately though, a smart initial save from Harry Gibson saw the ball come out to Felix Denayer and his reverse stick shot across goal was lifted over Gibson by Charlier as the sides entered the first break level.

GB had the better of the chances in the second quarter, firstly Middleton made a great interception in midfield before feeding Phil Roper whose shot was saved.

Moments later the hosts reached the baseline with a swift move but the cut back just evaded the on-rushing Zach Wallace.

The half ended with back to back penalty corners for Belgium but the GB defence held firm to keep them out and ensure the score remained level.

The third quarter was closely fought with fewer chances but it was the visitors who edged ahead on the stroke of the final break. A short counter attack allowed Charlier space to pass into Boon who passed into an empty goal.

GB came out with good intent as they looked to level the score and began to make numerous circle entries and with three minutes to go they grab a deserved equaliser. A flowing move down the right eventually saw the ball cut back to Griffiths who lifted high into the net.

However that wasn’t to be the end of the drama as Belgium grabbed a late winner. Attacking down the right the ball found van Aubel on the back post who tucked home to seal victory for the visitors.


Great Britain: Harry Gibson, George Pinner, Liam Sanford, Michael Hoare, Luke Taylor, Adam Dixon, Jack Waller, James Gall, Ian Sloan, Rhys Smith, Chris Griffiths, Harry Martin, Barry Middleton, David Condon, Phil Roper, Zach Wallace, Will Calnan, Sam Ward

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