England’s men’s hockey team secured bronze at the Rabo EuroHockey Championships in Amsterdam in a thrilling 4-2 win over Germany.
Final quarter strikes from Mark Gleghorne and Phil Roper saw England over the line to secure the medal, their first since 2014.
It marked a very significant step forward for Bobby Crutchley’s side, who have made excellent progress in 2017. Earlier in the year they qualified for the 2018 World Cup, finished third in the Hero Hockey World League Semi Final and Great Britain’s men became the first British side to win the Azlan Shah Trophy in 23 years.
With Phil Roper and Ian Sloan also on the scoresheet in today’s match, less than 24 hours after the women’s team also won bronze, it has been a fantastic weekend for the sport.
Off the pitch, 10,000 new players have joined clubs since last summer’s Olympics, and more than 60,000 tickets have been applied for in the ticket ballot for next summer’s Hockey Women’s World Cup London 2018, which runs until 6 September, so there is excellent momentum in hockey in this country.
Bobby Crutchley quote
“We are delighted with the result. We played some good hockey in the first half and defended very well in the second, but most importantly we were brave in attack and got the rewards.”
It was an entertaining opening to the contest, both sides showed strong attacking intent and an end-to-end first fifteen minutes followed.
Goodfield called Tobias Walter into early action with a flicked effort before George Pinner was twice off his line quickly to thwart two German attacks.
A flowing team move almost saw England edge ahead, Brendan Creed fired a ball into Barry Middleton whose first time touch freed up Sam Ward, but his effort was deflected narrowly wide.
Quickly after the first break Germany pulled ahead from a penalty corner. Defender Liam Sanford broke early meaning England were forced to defend with one less man, the ball was fired to the right hand post where Grambusch met the effort to deflect high past Middleton.
However it wasn’t long before England were back level through a penalty corner of their own. At the top of the circle Adam Dixon fired the ball to Middleton on the right hand post who was on hand to deflect high into the net.
Minutes later and England were in front when Michael Hoare found Sloan free in the circle with a fine ball. He collected and turned before slotting calmly under Walter to give his side the lead heading into the half-time interval.
Defender Michael Hoare was forced off through injury late in the third quarter as Germany began to exert some consistent pressure on the England backline. This paid off shortly before the final break, Windfeder’s drag flick from a penalty corner proving too hot for Pinner in the England goal.
Germany buoyed by the equaliser took control in the final fifteen minutes but it was England who retook the lead. Creed flew a pass over the top to David Ames who controlled well, his cut back into the circle was met by Gleghorne who dived to send the ball into the backboard. A sensational strike.
The pressure on the England defence continued and increased when Germany opted for a kicking back, but determined work from the side kept the Germans at bay and in the closing stages a breakaway goal from Roper made it 4-2 to secure the bronze medal.
England: George Pinner (GK), Liam Sanford, Brendan Creed, Michael Hoare, David Ames, Adam Dixon, Barry Middleton, Phil Roper, Sam Ward, David Goodfield, Chris Griffiths, Ollie Willars, Henry Weir, Harry Martin, Ian Sloan, Mark Gleghorne, David Condon
Sub (Unused): Harry Gibson (GK)