Monday, June 27, 2022

Hockey Pro League: England men edge France as technical issues mar women’s game

England men won a thriller against France while England women were denied full points in the FIH Pro League on Saturday, with the matches overshadowed by technical and TV issues.

England women were leading with just three seconds before China scored with the final touch of normal time before winning the shoot-out.

However, video referrals became a problem when comms were lost with the on-field umpires, while the shoot-out was delayed due to scoreboard errors and the eight-second timer not functioning.

Meanwhile, the TV camerawork was described as “terrible” and a “poor product”, with viewers unable to see close-up action due to constant panning out.

In the women’s game, Tess Howard continued her comeback from injury with the opening goal at Lee Valley, before Bingfeng Gu levelled from a PC with the final touch of normal time.

China took the bonus point in the shoot-out, winning 4-3.

Earlier, England men beat France 5-4 in their first Pro League meeting.

France came from behind twice to lead 4-3 with less than five minutes to go. However Sam Ward, who was captaining for the first time, and debutant Matt Ramshaw completed their braces to hand England a superb 5-4 win.

David Goodfield had scored the opener after two minutes to set the tone for the afternoon and France’s Gaspard Baumgarten scoring a fine hat-trick.

Both sides will return for Sunday’s double header. As will Belgium and Spain, with the former winning 5-1 and 3-0 in the men’s and women’s matches respectively.

In Berlin, Germany men beat Argentina 6-3. Gonzalo Peillat, who changed nationalities to Germany earlier this year, was awarded player of the match after a setpiece masterclass. Argentina women made it 11 matches unbeaten, with a 2-1 win over Die Danas.

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