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Smith makes England debut in tough game against Netherlands

[img_assist|nid=8523|title=|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=100|height=100]NETHERLANDS 6 (3)  
Constantijn Jonker 18, 32, 49 (FG, FG, FG)
Robbert Kemperman 26 (FG)
Seve Van Ass 41 (FG)
Rogier Hofman 55 (FG)

ENGLAND 1 (0)
Darren Cheesman 67 (FG)

Hamburg, July 25 – England’s Hamburg Masters did not get off to the best of starts as the world number three side, the Netherlands, scored six times, with a solitary consolation goal from England’s Darren Cheesman. Constantijn Jonker was the star of the show as he scored three times in a dominant Dutch display.

Speaking after the match England head coach Bobby Crutchley said, “We were punished by a far better team today who capitalised on some basic errors in our defending. I was disappointed with some of the individual performances and we have left ourselves with much to prove in our remaining games against Germany and Ireland at the weekend.”

After being sidelined with niggling injuries since the start of the year, Alastair Brogdon was back in action for England, making his 50th international appearance. Another career milestone was achieved by Cannock’s Patrick Smith as he made his international debut in England’s goal. In defence England welcomed back the experience of London 2012 Olympian Iain Lewers.

Despite it not being the ideal way for Patrick Smith to make his debut he kept England on even terms in the opening period. Both Seve Van Ass and Jeroen Hertzberger were kept at bay by Smith, but after the English defence were slow to react to a loose ball in the circle it was Jonker who dealt the first blow in the 18th minute. The dutch player found himself with space to flick the ball past Smith, who had little chance to react, to make it 1-0.

Eight minutes later Robbert Kemperman added a second goal for the Dutch and this was followed by another for Jonker just before half-time. With three minutes to go before the break Hofman’s pass found Jonker who drilled the ball home from five yards out to put England three goals down.

The second half started with another Dutch goal, this time from Van Ass in the 41stminute. England were on the back foot as the Netherlands pushed forward and in the 49th minute Jonker scored again, securing his hat-trick, and taking the score to 5-0.

England did find some form in the second half and forced two penalty corners and a stroke. However, the game wasn’t going England’s way and Richard Smith saw his penalty stroke saved by Jaap Stockmann in the Netherland’s goal.

The final blow for England came from Rogier Hofman who made it 6-0 with a reverse stick effort from the top left of the circle on the 55th minute.

It was little consolation for England but they did pull one back just before full time. Reading’s Simon Mantell made a good run down the right hand side and found his club teammate Darren Cheesman who flicked home from close range to beat Pirmin Blaaak who had subbed on for Stockmann.

After a disappointing result today, England will be looking to turn the tables on the Netherlands next week at the NOW: Pensions Nations Cup. Tickets are available now for the three-match test series, visit englandhockey.co.uk/nationscup for more information.

England’s next game at the ERGO Hamburg Masters sees them take on hosts Germany at 15:30 on Saturday afternoon.

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