England continue their winning ways at the London Cup

England continues their winning form on the second day of the Investec London Cup with their women’s hockey side winning 2-1 against South Africa and the men hitting seven unanswered goals, also against South Africa.

Scotland also picked up their first points of the tournament with their women beating Wales 5-0 and their men playing out a 1-1 draw with Ireland.

England’s seven-goal win was delivered with braces from Nick Catlin in his 100th game and Ashley Jackson. Barry Middleton, Simon Mantell and Mark Gleghorne also cashed in. 

Scotland first win at the Investec London Cup came after putting five past Wales in game one of the day. Leah Wilkinson, Elie Barnes and Ellie Bingham were working hard in the Welsh defence, but could not stop Catriona Ralph breaking the deadlock 20 minutes into the game and giving Scotland a 1-0 lead going into half-time.
Wales started the second half strongly, but when Scotland won a long corner midway through the 35 minutes, Nikki Lloyd was able to put the ball between the keeper’s legs. They continued to dominate possession and a brace for Vikki Bunce inside two minutes took their lead to 4-0 before Ailsa Wyllie was able to add a final goal to the score sheet in the 70th minute, giving Scotland a comprehensive 5-0 win.

In England women’s second game at the Investec London Cup they took on world number 11 side South Africa, a familiar foe who three weeks ago caused an upset at the Rabobank Hockey World Cup after inflicting a 4-1 defeat. On home turf, however, England turned their fortunes around and ran out 2-1 winners.
The opening period was quite an even affair, although South Africa just edged the possession forcing England into their own half. England showed patience and thwarted the South African attacks; the young crowd, many from local schools and clubs, showed fantastic support for the home side everytime they pushed forward. The balance of possession switched towards the end of the half as South Africa switched to play defensively, but for all of their high-quality defence they were unable to stop a brilliant solo effort from Reading’s Alex Danson on the reverse. England headed into the break one goal to the good.

In the second half South Africa were made to stay in their own half early on, but their patience was rewarded in the 47th minute, levelling the score thanks to a goal-line deflection from Illse Davids. The remainder of the game was poised at one goal apiece and both sides pushed forward looking for the winner. In the 61st minute England won a penalty stroke after a South African foot on the line blocked an initial shot from a penalty corner. The familiar site of Surbiton’s Georgie Twigg set up for the flick and she converted with ease, low to the right of van Deventer in goal.

A series of penalty corners for South Africa in the closing minutes looked like they might level the scores again, but great defence and goalkeeping from East Grinstead’s Kirsty Mackay [who had replaced Maddie Hinch at half-time] meant England held on to win the game 2-1.
The skies cleared for the third match of the day where Scotland’s men took on Ireland. Scotland came into the game following a heavy 6-0 defeat to England yesterday, while Ireland had put in a strong performance to beat South Africa 4-2 in their opening game.
It was Scotland who took the early lead through an impressive solo effort from Kenny Bain who rifled home a reverse stick strike which rattled in off the cross bar. Eager to equalise Ireland pushed forward, but the score stayed in favour of Scotland heading into the break.
For 34 minutes of the second half Scotland kept Ireland at bay, but with just a minute left on the clock Ireland made one last attempt at goal and were finally rewarded. A pin-point accurate pass from Michael Watt allowed Timothy Cockram to score with seconds left on the clock bringing the final score to 1-1.

In the final game of the day at hockey’s new legacy venue on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, England took on South Africa. The home side needed just six minutes to break down the South African defence with Ashley Jackson opening the scoring from open play. South Africa came close to bringing the scores level when Lloyd Jones had a one-on-one with George Pinner, however the England goalkeeper rushed out of his goal to make a great save.
England’s second goal came courtesy of Nick Catlin who, on his 100th [England] appearance for his country, lifted the ball over South African goalkeeper Erasmus Pieterse. The floodgates opened and just two minutes later England captain Barry Middleton made it 3-0 before Jackson scored his second with a brilliant drag-flick to make it 4-0. The first half was rounded off with a second goal from Catlin, and a fifth for England, with the team running in at half time still yet to concede a goal this tournament.
The second half opened with both Catlin and Jackson searching for hat-tricks however a tighter South African defence kept their opposition at bay. On the 56th minute, after much England pressure, Simon Mantell found the back of the net, slotting home England’s sixth goal.  With five minutes remaining in the match, Mark Gleghorne rounded off England’s night in style with a seventh and final goal, firing a vicious drag-flick into the roof of the South African net from a penalty corner. The result was England’s second biggest win over South Africa in the sides 39 meetings.

Nick Catlin commented after the game: “It was an absolute privilege to get my 100th cap today, and goals don’t come around too often for me so to get a couple was a really good way to celebrate it. The crowd have been great here today and we’re looking forward to even more people coming out at the weekend to see our games.”