Sunday, June 23, 2024

Hockey Pro League: Great Britain men and women strike high notes

This was a memorable weekend for GB hockey. GB men are now a double header away from returning to the UK unbeaten in the FIH Pro League ahead of their home run of matches, while GB women finally won their first game to leapfrog off the bottom in this first relegation season.

Both GB teams beat Australia and New Zealand in their opening games of the mini-tournament. The moment of the weekend undoubtedly came from Zach Wallace’s backhand volley strike.

It was a narrow, but comfortable one-goal win for GB women over the Hockeyroos, with a 13th-minute drag flick from Giselle Ansley proving the difference.

Then came GB men’s superb 5-2 victory over New Zealand. Wallace scored the opener after a Liam Sanford aerial into the D was deflected towards the Briton who lashed an incredible reverse into the net to gasps from the Canterbury crowd.

James Oates, on his GB debut, and Will Calnan added gloss to proceedings, before Dane Lett’s PC for the Kiwis.

A Nick Bandurak volley goal, coupled with some fine James Mazarelo saves kept GB in the ascendancy. Rupert Shipperley gave GB more breathing space, while George Baker pulled one back to 5-2.

On Sunday, GB men were handed a different test in the shape of the Kookaburras, with Sam Ward netting a double (PC and deflected goals) after Ky Willott had netted for Australia. Willott then nearly levelled but for the post. GB held on for a 2-1 win.

Another double helping of wins this week will see GB go top of the men’s Pro League standings.

GB women lifted themselves off the bottom PIC: FIH HOCKEY

GB women won their second match of the Pro League season. Tess Howard netted from a penalty stroke and then shot powerfully from the top of the D for her second.

She missed out on a hat-trick when a second stroke was saved. It was a convincing performance from GB with plenty more in the offing.

Total Hockey


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