Great Britain captain Adam Dixon asserted on Thursday night that “the boys are just happy to be back playing” following the Pro League hiatus. After a double defeat to Holland this week, they now head to world champions Belgium at the weekend looking to find their “ruthless” touch in front of goal. There’s no better team to test their mettle.
In Amsterdam, the hosts ran amok in the final third and double scorer Jeroen Hertzberger admitted that the Dutch could have scored six, content instead with a 3-1 win which nestled Max Caldas’ side up with Belgium at the top of the Pro League standings and left GB rooted to the bottom.
The Dutch had a succession of PCs, GB enduring the brunt of the defensive work; the impressive Tom Sorsby clearing off the line, while Luke Taylor, Brendan Creed and the returning George Pinner were also kept busy.
Mink van der Weerden gave Holland the lead via a PC, while Phil Roper expertly equalising from their second corner – one of only two shots on goal. The goal, on the stroke of half-time, could have sapped the energy from Holland, but their superior stick skills, vision and fast-paced rhythm proved a class act.
Hertzberger, playing his 250th match, deflected home in space to regain the lead and doubled up a minute later when a crash hit into the D saw evaded everyone bar the dashing Dutchman at the far post.
Captain Dixon said: “The boys are just happy to be playing. We’ve been playing club hockey back in the UK but it’s not the same. We’ve learned here that we’ve got to be a little bit sharper, tighter in defence and ruthless in front of goal.”
Earlier, Holland women proved too good for GB, with Eva de Goede’s goal the highlight in a 3-0 win.
Recycled from an initial PC, two deft touches found De Goede who swept home inside the near post in the second-half.
GB’s best chance came when Tess Howard won the ball on the edge of the D, found a quick release to Izzy Petter who skewed her effort wide.
Caia van Maasakker and the returning Frédérique Matla had earlier scored for the Dutch.
Both games this weekend against Belgium will be played in the afternoon with the host nation on a 10pm curfew.