Promotion joy for England indoor hockey side

EuroHockey Indoor Nations Championships
Slagelse, Denmark
Sunday, 22 January 2012
Day Three
Stephanie Walti – 5 (F)
Saskia Muller – 25 (PC)
Katie Long – 15 (F)
Emma Thomas – 22 (F)
Denise Marston-Smith – 24 (PC)

ENGLAND women secured promotion to the top flight of the EuroHockey Indoor
Nations Championship when they beat Switzerland 3-2 in their final match in
Slagelse, Denmark, on Sunday.England had to draw or win to secure their spot in next year’s top division, and
after being level at 1-1 at the break they achieved their aim with a one-goal victory.
The win was well deserved. England contained Switzerland superbly with some
strong defensive work, and Maddie Hinch was voted goalkeeper of the tournament.
“It was a brilliant team performance,” said head coach Nick Clark. “They have
developed so quickly in such a short period of time and every player has
contributed significantly despite the various set-backs such as injuries to Hannah
Smith and Abi Harper.”
England will be joined in the top flight by France, coincidentally the same two
teams who achieved promotion from the C Division two years ago.
Switzerland took the lead after just five minutes with Stephanie Walti scoring from
open play, but England were level at 1-1 following a 15 minute goal from Katie
Long. Neither side had any penalty corners in the first half in a display of two strong
defences, although England had Takara Haines to thank following a goal-line save
on 12 minutes.
However, Emma Thomas put England into the lead on 22 minutes with a full-length
dive after good work from Long. And two minutes later England put themselves 3-1 ahead with captain Denise
Marston-Smith scoring from England’s only penalty corner which she rifled into the
roof of the net.
Switzerland’s captain Saskia Muller pulled back a 25 minute goal from a penalty
corner, but England’s defence held firm and didn’t conceded further goals despite
their rivals having several penalty corner chances.
With the Great Britain women’s hockey squad travelling to South Ameruica to prepare for the Champions Trophy in Rosario, Argentina, England took an inexperienced squad to Denmark, but the side produced a string of impressive results defeating Slovakia 6-1, drawing 1-1 with Russia, and defeating Lithuania 3-2 as well as Switzerland in their final game. The only loss was 3-1 to eventual champions France.

See http://www.talkhockeyradio.co.uk/ for more from Slagelse.