England’s men and women both secured fine victories on another epic day of EuroHockey Championships action out in The Netherlands.
Following on from their 5-0 thrashing of Russia the previous day, England’s men followed it up with a stunning performance to beat world number one ranked Belgium 2-1 and put one foot in the semi-finals.
Zach Wallace and Liam Ansell both scored for the second game in a row to hand Danny Kerry’s side the victory, while Ollie Payne impressed with a number of important saves in just his second game for the country.
Earlier in the day England’s women began their campaign with a fine win over Italy as Catherine Ledesma scored on her international debut.
The Loughborough Students player struck in the final quarter for England’s third, following first half efforts from Sarah Evans and Jo Hunter while Ellie Rayer bagged her first England goal shortly after.
Danny Kerry’s side began their game against reigning world champions Belgium firmly on the front foot, winning four corners in succession early on before Wallace slotted home a penalty stroke in the fourth minute.
Tom Boon produced an unstoppable stroke of his own to level proceedings less than a minute later, with both sides enjoying plenty of chances throughout the remainder of the first half.
Ansell then bagged a goal for himself just 35 seconds into the second half as he converted Wallace’s cross after yet another mazy run from the Surbiton midfielder before England held firm under some serious Belgian pressure, Payne remaining cool as a cucumber with some fine saves.
That game was the final of five matches taking place in Amsterdam, with the women having opened proceedings against Italy.
Determined to make their impression on the tournament, they started on the front foot and created some early chances before Sarah Evans produced a fine finish in the 13th minute, sliding the ball beyond the ‘keeper after she superbly span past a defender.
Jo Hunter scored in very similar fashion in the 25th minute before Catherine Ledesma marked her senior international debut in fine style, reacting fastest to a loose ball to squeeze a shot home.
Ellie Rayer then scored her first international goal for England to round off a solid performance, finding herself in the right place at the right time to turn Grace Balsdon’s stunning cross into the goal.
England’s women are back in action again tomorrow when they face Germany at 16:00 live on BT Sport 1. That comes after Scotland’s women play the first game of the day as they search for their first win against Ireland at 11:30, also on BT Sport 1.