Saturday, June 22, 2024

Hockey Pro League: Australia women ease past hapless Great Britain

London — At the Olympic Park, Australia women strolled to a 3-0 victory over Great Britain on Saturday. This was a fifth defeat in seven FIH Pro League matches against the Hockeyroos and, more worryingly, a second successive match where the hosts finished a distant second best. 

Australia conjured 13 penalty corners, Jess Buchanan, Wimbledon-bound and one of five Scots playing here, enduring a notable debut in goal for GB where she was in demand throughout another trying 60 minutes for David Ralph’s side.

There was a fine double from Rebecca Greiner, while Tess Howard missed a crucial penalty stroke which may have changed the complexion of a match which ran away from GB in a productive third quarter for the Hockeyroos.

The opening skirmishes were akin to a Hockey5s template. Dangerous crash balls from both teams, with Sarah Robertson hit from one high outlet.

Meanwhile, Hollie Pearne-Webb was finding her range from the back with pinpoint passing, while Fiona Crackles and Charlotte Watson were again showing the best of their team’s attacking intent, along with Katie Robertson and forward Ellie Rayer’s link-up play.

Yet, it was Australia who dominated the half, garnering six penalty corners in the first quarter alone, the only threat seeing a first international save from Buchanan.

On their seventh, Australia mis-trapped but managed to find a flick at the top. Buchanan saved with her left pad, but the ball bobbled to Brooke Peris, who found enough power for the ball to inch over the line.

After their insipid display against USA – the Lee Valley crowd were shown highlights of the game prior to this old rivalry battle – GB did find success moving forwards on the right overlap but for the final telling touch.

Before half-time, Amy Costello hit the post from GB’s second PC, Rayer touched across goal from the rebound and Jocelyn Bartram got enough of a deflection to deny Watson a simple tap-in.

Five minutes after the break, Robertson carved an opening into the circle and won a penalty stroke after Amy Lawton’s illegal tackle. Tess Howard, who missed against China, evaded both net and target again.

Lawton atoned as the Hockeyroos took control of the third quarter. Pressing high, quick central interchanging saw GB floundering at the back, Lawton, born in Worthing, setting up Greiner. Her forehand across Buchanan was brilliantly taken, with the Scottish keeper managing to get a faint stick to the shot.

An imposing quarter from the green and golds ended with a route one goal and GB stilted in defence. Tatum Stewart sent in an aerial from the baseline, Greiner controlled and reverse tapped past Buchanan for her second.

Buchanan saved GB from further turmoil in the final quarter, the best of which saw her scampering to stick clear off the line. 

Total Hockey

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