LONDON, 10 August – Great Britain won their first Olympic hockey medal since Barcelona 1992 with a 3-1 victory against New Zealand in the women’s bronze medal match at the Riverbank Arena on Friday.
Hannah Macleod earned the match’s first penalty corner in the 14th minute with a run into the New Zealand circle but Crista Cullen’s strong hit was kicked away by goalkeeper Bianca Russell.
Cullen had a second chance moments later after Melody Cooper impeded Alex Danson, but Cullen’s low flick to the right was deflected past the post by Russell.
Krystal Forgesson hit a shot wide early on, but New Zealand’s best chance of the first half came in the closing minutes, Charlotte Harrison deflection from a Clarissa Eshuis penalty corner going just wide.
Just minutes into the second half Cathryn Finlayson found some space down the right and played the ball into Great Britain’s circle. Katie Glynn’s deflection went through goalkeeper Elizabeth Storry’s legs and hit the right post before being cleared to safety.
Danson earned Great Britain’s third penalty corner in the 45th minute and captain Kate Walsh took responsibility, received the ball and pushed towards goal where Danson deflected the ball into the net from near the penalty spot to make it 1-0.
New Zealand earned their second penalty corner of the match in the 50th minute, but with captain Kayla Sharland (NZL) off the field, Eshuis’s shot was blocked by Walsh.
Cullen helped make Great Britain’s penalty corners count in the second half, making it 2-0 in the 59th minute with a strong flick to Russell’s right and then another Walsh variation produced a third goal in the 63rd minute for Sarah Thomas, deflecting the ball in at the post.
Stacey Michelsen gave New Zealand hope in the 68th minute with a penalty corner deflection from an Eshuis flick, but Great Britain held on for a 3-1 victory and the bronze medal.
New Zealand missed the chance to win their first medal in women’s hockey, but still finished fourth, their highest Olympic finishing position just four years after finishing in last (12th) position at Beijing 2008.