Mixed fortunes for Home Nations on second day of action at EuroHockey Championships

England v Ireland #EHC2019
England’s women got their EuroHockey Championship campaign off to the perfect start as they ground out a 2-1 win over Ireland.

In the first of four games involving Home Nations sides on the second day of action, Suzy Petty scored her first England goal and Giselle Ansley produced a stunning flick to see their team to a well earned victory.

Scotland’s men also picked up their first point with a draw against Ireland, although they would have hoped for more having been 3-1 up with five minutes remaining.

England’s men produced a vastly improved performance from their draw with Wales the day before but two quality finishes from Tom Boon and Alexander Hendrickx saw hosts Belgium to a 2-0 victory.

And Wales’ men couldn’t repeat yesterday’s fine showing as they were comfortably beaten 5-1 by Spain.

England 2 (2)
Petty (15’, PC), Ansley (28’, PC)

Ireland 1 (0)
Barr (43’, PC)

Playing their first competitive game since the 2018 Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup, England secured three crucial points against an Ireland side that finished second at that tournament.

Suzy Petty gave her side a deserved lead at the end of the first quarter, showing great reflexes to turn the ball in for her first England goal after Ayeisha McFerran had initially stopped Giselle Ansley’s flick.

There was no stopping Ansley’s effort in the 28th minute though as she produced a rocket that snuck in off the underside of the crossbar.

Ireland put plenty of pressure on the England goal in the third quarter as eventually pulled one back as Beth Barr cleverly deflected a corner beyond Maddie Hinch.

Hinch hit back superbly in the final 15 minutes though as she produced a string of superb saves to deny Ireland an equaliser as England held on for victory.

Spain 5 (3)
Iglesias (3’, FG), Quemada (14’, PC; 56’, FG), Ruiz (28’, FG), Romeu (36’, PC)

Wales 1 (0)
G Furlong (42’, PC)

Buoyed by yesterday’s impressive draw with England, Wales were hopeful of causing another upset against a Spain side who had been thumped by Belgium previously.

But the Spaniards went ahead in the third minute through Alvaro Iglesias and never looked back, with Pau Quemada adding a second in the 14th minute.

Vincenc Ruiz added a third shortly before half-time before Josep Romeu added his name to the scoresheet in the 36th minute.

Gareth Furlong scored for the second consecutive game to reduce the arrears but it was Quemada who had the final say as he added a fifth with four minutes remaining.

Ireland 3 (1)
O’Donoghue (12’, FG; 58’, PS), Cross (55’, FG)

Scotland 3 (1)
Bain (28’, FG; 33’, FG), Falconer (51’, FG)

Scotland’s men bounced back in style after being beaten 9-0 by Germany yesterday but will feel slightly aggrieved they couldn’t hold on to victory against Ireland.

Shane O’Donoghue gave the Irish the lead in the 12th minute before Kenny Bain struck either side of half-time to put the Blue Sticks in the driving seat.

Craig Falconer then extended their advantage to two with just nine minutes remaining, only for Tim Cross to pull right back into it with five minutes remaining.

O’Donoghue then converted a controversial penalty stroke with just two minutes remaining to seal the comeback and ensure Scotland only left with a point.

England 0 (0)

Belgium 2 (1)
Boon (15’, PC), Hendrickx (49’, PC)

Despite a much improved performance, England’s men just didn’t quite have enough to overcome hosts Belgium in a closely fought encounter.

Tom Boon produced a world class finish to give his side the lead right at the end of the first quarter, reacting superbly after Harry Gibson initially produced a fine save from a corner.

England then had plenty of chances to equalise but were denied on numerous occasions by the seemingly impenetrable Vincent Vanasch, while Harry Martin also smacked the crossbar as he deflected an Ashley Jackson drag flick.

Belgium upped the intensity in the final quarter and, despite yet more great goalkeeping by Gibson, doubled their lead with 11 minutes remaining as Alexander Hendrickx fired in his third corner of the tournament.

England’s women are back in action tomorrow (19 August) as they face Germany at 12:30, while it’s a rest day for the men.

England will then kick off day four of the tournament (20 August) with a must-win encounter against Spain at 12:30, before Scotland play The Netherlands (17:00) and Wales face Belgium (19:30).

All games will be available to watch on BBC Sport’s digital platforms.