By The Hockey Paper
If the opening two FIH Pro League matches are anything to go by, then hockey fans are in for an exciting six-month journey in the sport’s new era.
On Friday morning in Valencia, fiesta hockey played out in the Spanish sun and in front of thousands of local children as Great Britain men came back from 4-1 down to win 6-5 and go top of the early Pro League standings in a madcap game which saw 22 shots and 52 circle entries.
GB found themselves 3-1 down in the first 10 minutes as Xavi Lleonart, Marc Bolto and Diego Arana all scored, in between an Adam Dixon leveller.
Spain’s high press then saw Albert Beltran deflect past a beleaguered Harry Gibson to hand the hosts an incredible first quarter lead.
Zach Wallace then squeezed home in the second quarter for his first goal in GB colours in a decidedly less frenzied second 15 minutes.
Danny Kerry’s team talk at the break clearly worked as GB continued to claw back the deficit.
Mark Gleghorne rifled home from a penalty corner, Dixon’s rebound from a PC secured the leveller at 4-4 and Phil Roper ended a brilliant solo run from half-way with a low strike to see GB take the lead.
David Condon’s goal with three minutes remaining then looked to have given GB the points.
Miss out on any of the action from today's #FIHProLeague thriller? 🤔
— Great Britain Hockey (@GBHockey) January 25, 2019
But Spain, who scored late against world champions Belgium last weekend, ended the match with three PC chances on the hooter, the last of which saw George Pinner scramble away.
“To go four goals down, it would have been easy to capitulate but it was testament to the work we have done over the last few months,” said man-of-the-match Dixon.
GB’s team manager, Andy Halliday, went one better on social media, writing: “Sloppy, solid, stunning, strong, surreal! The four quarters and the game succinctly in five words.”
GB will now return to the UK after this breathless one-off encounter before flying to Australia and New Zealand in their next Pro League installment. Brace yourselves!