Great Britain hockey fightback to draw with the Netherlands

[img_assist|nid=3332|title=|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=250|height=218]GREAT BRITAIN 2 (0)  
Crista Cullen 40,61 (PC,PC)                   

Naomi Van As 7 (F)                
Kim Lammers 32 (F)                 

Leicester defender Crista Cullen struck two second-half penalty corners to earn GB a draw with Olympic champions the Netherlands. But GB were left ruing their failure to convert two penalty strokes which could have turned a good draw into an upset win. 

Cullen had one stroke well saved while Kate Walsh shot wide of the right post.

Scottish goalkeeper Abi Walker made some good saves from second-half penalty corners as the normally deadly Dutch penalty-corner routines were smothered out. 

Great Britain coach Danny Kerry said his side’s belief being key to getting results.  “The girls need to believe in themselves more,” he said.  “At half time we spoke about belief and for them [the players] to decide if they are good enough.”Great Britain’s Welsh star Sarah Thomas made her 50th appearance in a GB vest while birthday girl Walker came in for Beth Storry, who sat out the match with Walker’s clubmate Natalie Seymour.  

Great Britain had fallen behind to a scrappy goal from the Netherlands’ Naomi Van As in the seventh minute as the Dutchwoman volleyed home after the ball fell to her inside the British circle.  They Brits thought they had equalised though midway through the first half after a good advantage was played at a penalty corner.  However, the whistle had already gone to award Great Britain a penalty stroke, which captain Kate Walsh could only put wide.

Things got worse for Great Britain three minutes before the break when Kim Lammers doubled the Dutch tally.

After a rallying half time team talk Great Britain returned for the second half and five minutes in Crista Cullen gave them the lifeline they needed as she converted a penalty corner to make it 2-1. 

And Cullen had the chance to make it 2-2 from the spot when Great Britain were awarded a second penalty corner in the 56th minute.  Despite putting her effort on target, the Leicester player was thwarted by Joyce Sombroek in the Dutch goal. 

With nine minutes remaining, Cullen netted her second penalty corner of the match to equalise and earn Great Britain a share of the spoils against the world’s number one ranked team. Cullen’s corners appear to be back on track after a lean period of 18 months or so  – a very positive sign for GB’s Olympic hopes.

Afterwards, GB coach Danny Kerry said, “We’re disappointed with our first half performance.  The girls need to believe in themselves more.  At half time we spoke about belief and for them [the players] to decide if they are good enough.

“I’m disgusted that we’re being asked to play in such high temperatures; it’s dangerous and wrong.”

Despite earning the draw, captain Kate Walsh added, “We’re disappointed with our performance today.  We turned the ball over too cheaply.  We needed to be stronger.  We created chances and gradually put them under more pressure as the game went on.  It was a more buoyant second half and we can take that forward into the rest of the tournament.”

Great Britain now have a rest day on Monday before the final Pool A fixture against China on Tuesday.   In the other match in the Pool, Olympic silver medal holders China beat Japan 2-1.


*caps and goals on the attached document


Abi Walker (EuroCanterbury) Goalkeeper

Crista Cullen (Leicester) Defender

Emily Maguire (Reading) Defender

Laura Unsworth (Loughborough Students) Defender

Sally Walton (Bowdon Hightown) Defender

Kate Walsh (Reading) Defender

Ashleigh Ball (Slough) Midfielder

Helen Richardson (Reading) Midfielder

Alex Danson (Reading) Forward

Hannah Macleod (Leicester) Forward

Sarah Thomas (No Club) Forward


Used Substitute

Anne Panter (Leicester) Defender

Chloe Rogers (Leicester) Midfielder

George Twigg (Clifton) Midfielder

Laura Bartlett (Reading) Forward

Nicola White (Slough) Forward


Did Not Play

Beth Storry (Reading) Goalkeeper

Natalie Seymour (EuroCanterbury) Defender



Pool A

1. Great Britain (4 pts)

2. Netherlands (4 pts)

3. China (3 pts)

4. Japan (0 pts)


Pool B

1. Germany (3 pts)

2. Argentina (1 pt)

3. New Zealand (1 pt)

4. Korea (1 pt)?