Australia lead way at Champions Trophy, England finish eighth

[img_assist|nid=6790|title=Goal|desc=Darren Cheesman scores for England against New Zealand at the Champions Trophy – Photo: Treeby Images|link=node|align=right|width=220|height=136]MELBOURNE, December 9 – Australia won their fifth consecutive Champions Trophy with a 2-1 golden goal win over Netherlands.

Pakistan finished third after beating India 3-2. Belgium retained their place for the 2014 Trophy with a 5-4 extra-time win over Germany.

England took the wooden spoon as New Zealand produced a golden goal through Nick Wilson to win 3-2.

England head coach Jason Lee said: “I thought we did well to stay in the game today. The tank looked very empty but we can take plenty of positives from the tournament; the fact that we’ve competed in every game is one.”

An excellent solo equaliser from Reading’s Darren Cheesman had sent England in level at half time, having fallen behind to Stephen Jenness’s opener, and when three times Olympian Barry Middleton deflected England ahead with just under an hour on the clock it looked as if England might finish the tournament with a victory.

However, New Zealander Nick Wilson settled things in the Kiwis’ favour with a late double. Wilson’s perfectly struck upright backhand shot from the edge of the circle made it 2-2 just five minutes after Middleton’s goal and it was Wilson’s back post deflection that settled things in extra time to consign England to a 3-2 defeat.

“International hockey players a not made overnight. It’s about experiencing these sorts of tournaments. I’m impressed with the way some of the new guys have acquitted themselves but as a team we are not physically ready for a tournament such as this. There are definitely some green shoots but there is plenty of work ahead of us,” said Lee.

Looking ahead, 2013 is already shaping up to be a busy year with England’s men set to compete in the new World League (June), the Investec London Cup (July) and the European Championships (August).