By Alicia Turner at The Stoop
Great Britain men secured a vital win against New Zealand at an electric Twickenham Stoop on Sunday.
The hosts’ win on a specially-constructed turf secured a final four berth at the FIH Pro League Grand Finals next week in Amstelveen.
Chris Griffiths started the game off scoring a blinder on his reverse, as he sped in from the top of the D.
Great Britain then worked solidly all from the forwards’ strong press as the Black Sticks found it difficult to enter their last third.
However, the hosts couldn’t add a second which kept the game in the balance until Alan Forsyth placed himself perfectly on the far left post, after Griffiths set up a strong dribble into the attacking circle securing a second goal in the final quarter.
This double header against New Zealand made history being the highest-attended hockey match on British soil since London 2012.
The fans were on the edge of their seats as the intensity picked up from both teams. Just in time for midfielder James Gall who produced strong line balls on the left hand side to the forward line.
Goalkeeper Harry Gibson made a vital save which made sure Great Britain took a 1-0 lead at half-time, along with Brendan Creed who made some brilliant blocks at short corners.
During the third quarter the Black Sticks maintained the majority of possession in hope to challenge the GB men, but never threatened goal.
GB now travel to Holland for the season-ending finals. How they get there is another matter, the travel logistics having yet to be rubber-stamped.
What GB do know is that they face Australia on Friday in the semi-finals.