Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Hockey Pro League: Great Britain left bruised by rampant Australia

Great Britain were left bruised by a rampant Australia, who were lucky to end the match with 11 players, as their FIH Hockey Pro League Grand Final hopes ended in a 6-1 defeat on Friday.

A superb six-minute hat-trick by Jacob Anderson, coupled with clinical finishing, saw the Kookaburras join the Hockeyroos in a bid to clinch a Pro League final double on Sunday in the inaugural global tournament.

But GB were left to rue a first-quarter umpiring decision which cost them dear. They will now play Holland for bronze after world champions Belgium beat them 3-1 at the Wagener Stadium.

An early penalty corner clearly saw Harry Martin block tackled in the circle, a decision which many would have argued to be a penalty stroke.

As it was, Ashley Jackson unleashed a low strike in the retaken corner for his first international goal in nearly three years.

But the video umpiring decision also saw Kookaburra Jeremy Hayward receive a green card after Martin was taken out and left with a bloody forehead, when a yellow or red would have been more just.

Harry Martin was left with bloody forehead after corner incident PIC: WorldSportPics

Five minutes later, Australia levelled as Anderson got in the act. Three times GB’s right side was exploited as the Kookaburras raced into a 3-1 lead at the break.

Hayward and Blake Govers then slotted home from PCs in the second-half before Tim Brand scored eight minutes from time.

GB captain Adam Dixon said: “They played better hockey for longer than we did. We came out really quickly to get the first goal – against a side like Australia you have to start well and set the tempo really early and we were the team that went and dictated.

“They turned the ball over really cheaply which for an Australian side is quite rare. So I think we started well but then we just fell away.”

Australia coach Colin Batch said: “We rebounded well after an early goal against, shows the fighting quality of our team.”

Australia and Holland will battle for the women’s title on Saturday after both sides squeezed past Argentina and Germany respectively on Thursday

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