Saturday, December 9, 2023

Hockey Pro League: England endure differing results in London

England’s men made it four home wins on the bounce ahead of their clash with the European champions next weekend.

England beat South Africa 3-0 to record their second clean sheet in 12 matches of this season’s Pro League. The London swing continues on Saturday against the Netherlands, unbeaten so far after six matches.

James Albery’s first international goal opened the scoring after only five minutes, and when Will Calnan rocketed home another corner eight minutes later England were on solid ground.

They continued to push but took until the 54th minute to find a third as Chris Griffiths held off a defender to produce a very tidy near post finish.

Calnan said: “We knew South Africa would come out hard but I’m really proud of the boys today. We had a good effort to keep a clean sheet. It’s always nice to score goals and we were very focused in the moment and taking it as it comes.”

Spain’s women took all three points thanks to a resilient performance and a superb display from goalkeeper Melanie Garcia as England lost 2-0 at Lee Valley.

Xantal Gine opened the scoring in the 20th minute with a well-taken penalty corner, and although England pushed from then on, they found Garcia in excellent form between the posts.

When England then removed the returning Maddie Hinch for the final minutes, Spain broke away to score a second through Marta Segu.

Having won on Saturday, England’s defeat was their fifth in 10 matches in an increasingly inconsistent Pro League season.

Argentina women had a chance to seal their fate as FIH Pro League champions with a win over the Netherlands but a second 1-1 draw left Argentina to suffer another shootout loss. This time it was 3-2 in sudden death shootouts.

Two goals from Tom Boon propelled Belgium men to their second-straight win over France.

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