An open, free-flowing first quarter saw both teams creating openings. The first penalty corner was won by David Condon, whose surging run drew the foul. Phil Roper’s shot was chased down and the subsequent foul gave Great Britain (WR:7) a second chance from the top of the circle. This time Pirmin Blaak in the Netherlands (WR:3) goal cleared confidently.
Great Britain continued to exploit the right-hand side of the pitch and a great run by Will Calnan was topped by a fantastic shot that left Blaak unable to respond.
The lead was short-lived as, just two minutes later, Mink van der Weerden put the first Netherland’s penalty corner straight into the roof of the Great Britain net, out of reach of Harry Gibson in goal.
The second quarter was equally open. Condon had a great chance to extend his side’s lead but his shot flew wide. At the other end, Gibson was called upon to deal with two more Netherlands’ penalty corners, and with Henry Weir doing a great job chasing down the first shot, the score-sheet remained equal.
“We need to tidy a few things up going into this second half. We are making some changes to our approach,” said Great Britain’s Head Coach Danny Kerry. His counterpart, Max Caldas said that he was looking for his team to clear up some of the “sloppy” mistakes that had crept into the Netherlands’ play.
The third quarter was a bit of a physical and mental grind as both teams tried to deal with the heat and intensity of the game. It was Great Britain whose persistence paid off when Sam Ward scored in the dying seconds of the quarter – a typically instinctive goal that came as the result of a lovely piece of team passing play.
That goal acted as a spur to Great Britain as they came out for the fourth quarter. The sound of the whistle had barely ended when Player of the Match Jack Wallace slipped the ball to Chris Griffiths, who stepped into the Dutch circle and smashed the ball home to extend his side’s lead to 3-1.
As the quarter closed down, Kerry’s men showed a lot of experience as they managed the game and quelled any sign of a Dutch revival.
That said, with less than two minutes remaining, the Netherlands won two successive penalty corners. Once again, Weir charged van der Weerden’s fierce shot down and the danger passed.
The result, a fifth win, sees Great Britain more back up the FIH Pro League table into third place ahead of Argentina and Netherlands.
Speaking after the game, Great Britian’s Jack Wallace said: “It was incredible playing in Holland, a great atmosphere, great crowds. We came in on the back of two tough matches against Belgium. Today we were composed in defence, but we kept moving the ball quickly and they couldn’t get near us. We had some things to learn from earlier games, and I think we did that today.”