Saturday, July 20, 2024

Australia women end Hockey Pro League on high with GB win

London — A sixth defeat in eight Pro League matches against Australia saw Great Britain go down 3-2, the Hockeyroos ending their European sojourn on a high.

On Laura Unsworth’s 350th cap, it was two penalty corner deflections from the Hockeyroos which paved the way for victory, with the hosts unable to convert two series of set pieces of their own in the second-half against a defence marshalled expertly by Karri Somerville.

Grace Balsdon, with her fifth in sixth matches, scored from an early penalty corner and must now be in line for a Paris berth, with fellow PCA flicker Giselle Ansley returning for their final Pro League matches this month. Players will be told their Olympic selection on Friday, with a revealing on Tuesday.

Australia levelled in the 20th minute when Lily Owsley lost the ball inside half way and Grace Stewart, with GB unable to close down, slapped low past Miriam Pritchard.

Just before the break, Rosie Malone struck low and captain Brooke Peris connected with a soft touch to beat Pritchard.

China ended their Pro League campaign with win PIC: WORLDSPORTPICS /WILL PALMER

Tess Howard equalised, deservedly, for GB in the 39th minute. And, with four minutes left in the corner, the indefatigable Ellie Rayer ran to the baseline and switched across goal, Charlotte Watson inches from connecting with her outstretched stick.

GB had three PCs in a row as they began to control the final quarter, with Jocelyn Bartram equal to any threat from the attacking battery.

There were a further three PC chances for Amy Costello and Toman with the next attack. All their flick or slap hits were sent low and central and all dealt with efficiently by the Hockeyroos.

Australia, who will announce their Olympic squad on July 1, then made GB pay for their raft of chances with their next set piece when Malone netted low with nine minutes left.

Peris said of Somerville: “She really drove every line from the back and that just shows her leadership. She’s so talented, she brings this excitement and she gets the girls going and that’s what we love to all to see and that’s the passion that she brings and she just brings everyone up with her.”

Earlier, China finished their Pro League campaign in fine style with a 3-1 win over Germany and two goals from Ying Zhang.

Total Hockey

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