GB's women ease to first 2020 FIH Hockey Pro League victory

Watson Goal v NZ FIHPL20
New Zealand 0 (0)

Great Britain 3 (2)
Howard (9’, FG); Watson (21’, PS); McCallin (50’, FG)

A stunning goal from Shona McCallin helped Great Britain’s women secure their first win in the 2020 FIH Hockey Pro League.

The midfielder swept home a delightful cross from Tess Howard ten minutes from the end to bag all thee points after an impressive performance.

Howard herself had neatly deflected home a cross to start the scoring early in a game that saw Lily Owsley make her 150th combined international appearance.

Charlotte Watson was also on target as Mark Hager’s team bagged their first points in this year’s edition.

It was New Zealand who came closest to breaking as they won three corners in quick succession halfway through the first quarter, with McCallin pulling off a brilliant save on the line.

Two minutes later Howard gave Great Britain the lead as she found herself in the perfect spot to lift Sarah Robertson’s dangerous cross over Georgia Barnett.

GB then won a corner in the 20th minute but Anna Toman’s slap was saved before Watson doubled the lead a minute later with a stroke after Jo Hunter was barged as she wound up to take a shot.

Toman saw another corner blocked early in the third quarter before the hosts started applying plenty of pressure in search of  a goal to draw themselves back into the game, winning several set pieces of their own.

But there was no way past Sabbie Heesh or her defenders, with Leah Wilkinson and Howard valiantly throwing themselves into the path of the ball.

McCallin then provided the moment of the day as she diving to turn Howard’s brilliant pass into the corner for her first ever GB goal and her first international strike in more than two years.

After the game, Owsley said: “There’s a lot of relief – we’re glad to start the ball rolling and it was a great game. After last weekend’s disappointment we needed that and hopefully we’ll come out tomorrow and get even more points from this trip.

“I thought last weekend we put in good performances but we didn’t come away with the wins. When you’re playing well you have to grind out good performances and today we knew we had to turn the screw and we did it.

“150 – I don’t know where the time has gone. It’s been a journey and to achieve this is very special and I’m so proud. I couldn’t think of a better group to get it with.”

The two teams play again at 4:30am GMT tomorrow morning.

Starting XI: Hinch (GK), Unsworth, Toman, Martin, Townsend, Robertson, Pearne-Webb (C), McCallin, Owsley, Balsdon, Watson
Subs (Used): Howard, Jones, Neal, Heesh (GK), Hunter, Petter, Wilkinson
Subs (Unused): Rayer, Burge

FIH Pro League 2020

The general sale for the 2020 FIH Hockey Pro League matches in London opens on 20 February. Find out more by clicking here.