It was a double delight for Great Britain at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre as both Women and Men registered thrilling wins in their respective FIH Pro League 2022/23 fixtures held on Sunday.
While the Women beat the USA 4-2, the Men’s team registered a clinical 3-0 win over Spain to climb to the top of the FIH Pro League points table.
GB Women got back to winning ways as they beat the USA 4-2 in their second match of the second London mini tournament.
Fiona Crackles (4') scored her first goal for GB, while Charlotte Watson (23', 29') starred with a brace and Sophie Hamilton (10') chipped in with a goal for the home side. Abigail Tamer (25') and Ashley Sessa (27') scored a goal each for the visitors.
GB got off the blocks swiftly, with a structured attack. They went on to draw the first blood in the fourth minute of the match with Crackles finding the back of the net from the top of the striking circle. GB doubled the lead through Hamilton in the 10th minute as her stroke from the right flank went past the USA goalkeeper at the far post.
The last five minutes of the first quarter saw the USA enjoying the ball possession as they earned as many as three penalty corners, but the GB defence was up to the mark, denying their opponents pulling a goal back.
Continuing with the same attacking intent, GB applied relentless pressure on the USA in the second quarter. They were rewarded with their third goal in the 23rd minute through Watson who slotted the ball home with ease in front of the goalpost after receiving the pass from the left flank.
The USA, on the other hand, fought back and pulled two goals back within two minutes. Tamer scored the first goal during a penalty corner routine in the 25th minute, while Sessa scored from an open play in the 27th minute.
Two minutes later, GB earnt back-to-back penalty corners, with the second one being converted during a chaotic routine. It was Watson, who slipped the ball into the net near the goal line surrounded by the USA defensive line, thus scoring her second and the team's fourth goal to end the quarter with a 4-2 lead.
GB started the third quarter aggressively, with Hamilton making an excellent run from the left flank and taking the shot on target, but the USA goalkeeper cleared the danger. Dominating the ball possession for the majority of the third quarter, GB made attacking inroads inside USA's half. They also earned a penalty corner in the 39th minute but missed out on converting their chance. The latter stage saw both teams making circle entries, but no goals were scored in the third quarter.
Trailing by two goals, the USA came up with an improved attack in the final quarter. They made timely circle entries, but GB's defence kept the USA forwards at bay. With six minutes to go before the final hooter, the visitors removed their goalkeeper to put an extra player in their attempt to reduce the deficit. They were even rewarded for their move, with a penalty corner in the 57th minute, but GB's tight defence denied them scoring to ensure a thrilling 4-2 win.
Great Britain Men’s Team registered a thrilling 3-0 win over Spain to climb at the top of the FIH Pro League points table.
Nick Bandurak (34’, 58’) bagged a brace, while Lee Morton (60’) scored a goal for the home side.
The game started at a breathless pace with both teams trying to make inroads in their opponent’s half. GB forced an opening penalty corner after two minutes after a run from Phil Roper ended in a foul by Spain in the circle. Sam Ward’s low drag was saved and cleared by the Spanish goalkeeper. Minutes later the opposition earnt a penalty corner, but the drag-flick went wide off the left-hand post.
Spain had another good opportunity when a reverse stick pass was deflected close in on goal, but Ollie Payne smothered the shot and danger was averted. With seconds left, a Zach Wallace run from midfield, saw a scramble in the Spain’s D and the ball was flicked high into the net by Sam Ward. However, the goal was disallowed for danger after an umpire referral. And the first quarter ended 0-0.
Spain were awarded a penalty corner within 20 seconds of the game restarting, but it was disallowed on referral. At the other end, some great 3D skills from Tom Sorsby gained GB a penalty corner, but the injection was missed, and GB couldn’t capitalise on the chance. Minutes later, GB yet again earned the penalty corner, but missed out on converting it.
They kept piling pressure on the Spanish defence with attacking runs, but they couldn’t quite convert the opportunities. The scoreline was still at 0-0 gridlock at the end of the first half.
GB started the third quarter on the front foot, making good exchanges inside the Spanish half. They went on to earn back-to-back penalty corners in the 34th minute, with the second one being converted by Nick Bandurak. His powerful drag-flick to the left-hand side of the goalie to put GB 1-0 ahead.
The Brits rode on this momentum as they continued with their relentless all-out attack. They had a couple of goalscoring opportunities, but the Spanish defence managed to clear the danger. In reply, Spain had a couple of inroads in GB's half, but the home side ended the third quarter with their 1-0 lead preserved.
The start of the final quarter saw both teams exchanging attacks, without causing much damage. GB's first real chance in the final quarter came from the right flank when James Oates made a dangerous run and passed the ball to Bandurak at the far post trying to deflect the ball but failing to get hold of the ball. With less than 12 minutes to go, Spain went down to nine players with two yellow cards. GB took advantage of the situation and made a flurry of circle entries, but the Spanish goalie stood tall to nullify the attack.
With less than two minutes left on the clock, GB scored two quick goals. While Bandurak scored his second and team's second goal from penalty corner, Morton scored a stupendous diving revere flick goal from the left flank. GB raced away with a thrilling 3-0 win to climb to the top of the points table.
Men's - Mon 19 June 2023 - 17:30 - Spain v Netherlands
Women's - Mon 19 June 2023 - 20:00 - Great Britain v Germany
- Under 18s from £8 for TWO games, adults from £18.50
- Two mini-tournaments at Lee Valley Hockey Tennis Centre in May & June 2023
- Great Britain playing some of the world's best teams
- Lots of low price seats still available.
Make sure you don't miss out and get your tickets here!
All games will be broadcast live on BT Sport