Bronze for Great Britain men following win over India
06 May 2012
It was a repeat of Thursday night's clash between Great Britain and India in the third versus fourth place play-off at the Riverbank Arena on the final day of the Visa International Invitational Hockey Tournament.
The teams came out to a rapturous applause from the 10,000 strong crowd that had come to cheer on the sides and enjoy an afternoon of hockey featuring some of the best teams in the world.
In a game that saw Beeston's Alastair Wilson make his 50th appearance in a Great Britain shirt the men in red managed to secure third place in the tournament with a 2-1 victory over India. Both goals in the first half came from penalty corners; the first scored by VR Raghunath for India and the second by Surbiton's James Tindall seconds before half time. The second half saw good chances for both sides, but Rob Moore was the only one to capitalise, scoring his second goal of the tournament.
Speaking after the game Great Britain Head Coach Jason Lee said, "It's going to be an exciting place to be in the summer. I hope the crowd keep up their support and backing for the team. On our part I hope we can bring much more energy and excitement on the pitch than we brought today. This has been our fourth game in five days and I think that's why we struggled with the intensity as India did as well. At the Olympics, our fourth game will be after seven days so we'll have had two more rest days then and I think that will make it a lot easier for us to play with a higher intensity."
Great Britain got off to a strong start winning their first penalty corner of the game after just three minutes. Tindall created space for himself in the circle and won the corner for his side which Loughborough Students' Richard Smith stepped up to strike. His effort was driven low and to the left of Bharat Kumar Chetri in India's goal but the cheering crowd said it all as the ball rebounded back off the right hand post and India cleared.
Great Britain showed some patient build up play and won another penalty corner in the 12th minute thanks to some great work from East Grinstead's Ashley Jackson and Reading's Jonty Clarke; this time Smith's effort was stopped by the defender.
India looked dangerous on the break and Great Britain were caught out on several occasions; Hampstead and Westminster's Dan Fox and Beeston's Adam Dixon both made vital tackles to help keep the score line even.
In the 23rd minute India won a penalty corner when a ball in the circle came off Smith's foot. The ball came out to VR Raghunath who fired a shot low and to the left past Fair in goal to make it 1-0.
Following India's goal Great Britain pressed forward. East Grinstead's trio of Glenn Kirkham, Mark Pearn and Jackson all forced saves from India's captain Chetri in goal. But it was Tindall who came closest with a reverse stick shot after some good build up play down the right hand side from Old Loughtonian's Harry Martin and Jackson.
Just as it looked like India would take a goal advantage into the half time break Great Britain's persistence was rewarded when they won a penalty corner in the final minute. The ball fell to Tindall whose strike cut through the Indian defence to find the back board and pull a vital goal back before the break.
Great Britain started the second half in a similar fashion to the first. Some good build up work down the left hand side saw an attempt from Reading's Nick Catlin on the reverse which went wide of the left post. Moments later Surbiton's Rob Moore found himself space at the top of the circle to fire a shot, but it went high over the crossbar.
In total Great Britain had 18 attacking circle penetrations during the game compared to nine for India, however when India did attack they consistently looked a threat. With 17 minutes to go they won a penalty corner after a mistake by Wilson, but Sandeep Singh's attempt was saved by Fair and the danger cleared.
In the 52nd minute Ashley Jackson passed a searching cross into the circle, which was initially saved by Chetri. The rebound fell to Iain Mackay who ran around his defender to deliver a pass across goal to Rob Moore, who swept the ball home to make it 2-1 and to score his second goal against India in this tournament.
The support from the 10,000 strong crowd was fantastic throughout and with three minutes to go Great Britain could have killed the game off. Another great piece of play from Jackson down the left wing picked out Catlin in the circle for a one on one with the goalkeeper, but Chetri got down well to save. The game finished 2-1 and gave Great Britain a third place finish.
Speaking after the game Great Britain captain Glenn Kirkham said, "The last two games, with the size of the crowd, it has been fantastic. You just don't get that with hockey matches in the UK or Europe in general. We talk a lot about home crowds giving you pressure and whether you take it in the right way or not. I think this tournament we've definitely responded to it. Overall it's been fantastic and if that's anything like what it'll be like in the summer it can only serve to boost our performances."
Lee added his thoughts on the tournament overall, "This is a great tournament because of the differences in the teams. Across the tournament, we're the third ranked team here so we should have come third, all things being equal. We got a draw against Australia and could've nicked it and although the result was perhaps a bit unfair I thought we were close with Germany and we had two victories against India who have been an up and coming team over the last few years."
The Great Britain men's squad will now move into the preparation phase for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup which runs from 24 May - 3 June 2012.
Visa International Invitational Hockey Tournament Standings
3. Great Britain
Great Britain men's Squad v India
James Fair (Cannock) Goalkeeper
Iain Lewers (East Grinstead) Defender
Richard Smith (Loughborough Students) Defender
Dan Fox (Hampstead and Westminster) Defender
Harry Martin (Old Loughtonians) Midfielder
Ashley Jackson (East Grinstead) Midfielder
Glenn Kirkham (East Grinstead) Midfielder
Iain Mackay (Reading) Midfielder
Nick Catlin (Reading) Midfielder/Forward
Rob Moore (Surbiton) Midfielder/Forward
James Tindall (Surbiton) Forward
Ali Wilson (Beeston) Defender
Adam Dixon (Beeston) Defender/Midfielder
Jonty Clarke (Reading) Forward
Mark Pearn (East Grinstead) Forward
Richard Alexander (Surbiton) Midfielder/Forward
Did Not Play
Ben Hawes (Wimbledon) Defender/Midfielder
Simon Mantell (Reading) Forward