Great Britain: GB make it four from four

Great  Britain’s men took on India in front of another sell out crowd at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre; their first meeting since a 4-4 draw in last year’s FIH Pro League in London.  In a close, hard-fought match it was GB who took all the points with a 3-1 win, the goals coming from Nick Bandurak (2) and Will Calnan.    

The opening quarter started at a typically frenetic pace, with India’s men enjoying a lot of possession. Against the run of play, a GB attack down the left wing saw a great cross on the reverse stick by Will Calnan. Nick Bandurak close in on goal, stooped low to deflect the ball home to score the opening goal after 2 minutes. Great Britain doubled their lead on 11 minutes, again from Bandurak who picked up the ball in the circle with his back to goal, turned and struck past the Indian keeper. In reply India forced a series of penalty corners but failed to convert through a combination of resolute defence or just firing the drag flicks wide. 
By contrast quarter two was goalless thanks to the goalkeepers on both sides.  James Mazarelo was called into action on a couple of occasions, saving from an Indian breakaway attack and then again at close range.  At the other end India’s Parattu, saved well from a reverse stick strike from Rohan Bhuhi, after a break away down the right from Tom Sorsby. It was 2-0 at halftime. 
India started the second half with greater intensity as they tried to get a goal back. The pressure from India was sustained and they forced multiple entries into the GB circle.  James Mazarelo was again on hand to make some vital saves, including a strike from the right-hand side of the D that needed a leg at full stretch to deflect the ball wide. India’s pressure finally paid off after 35 minutes, when a reverse stick strike at close range from Abishek beat the goalkeeper, to make it 2-1. 
The final quarter saw a continuation of India’s pressure as they looked for an equaliser, but the contest was over when GB scored their third. It came from Will Calnan with a great turn and strike at the top of the circle to beat the keeper on the inside of the left-hand post, making it 3-1.  
Both teams created further chances, the best of which went to India who hit the post from the follow up from a penalty corner.    
That was how the scoreline stayed so GB’s men take the opening game against india, with the follow up next weekend.

Great Britain’s women faced India for the first time since their bronze medal match in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. With previous encounters being very close and settled by the odd goal, so this one proved to be, GB just edging out India 3-2.  Two goals came from Scotland’s Charlotte Watson and England’s Izzy Petter scored a later winner. 
Great Britain raced out of the blocks in the opening minutes of the match, moving the ball well in transition. This early possession paid dividends when after only 5 minutes, Ellie Rayer was fouled running in on goal and GB were awarded a penalty stroke.  Charlotte Watson stepped up and scored, sending the flick high to the left past India’s goalkeeper. In the space of a few minutes Watson was involved twice more, a first attempt on goal saved, her second was a quick reaction to Sarah Jones’ strike which deflected off the keeper’s pads and she flicked home from close range. It was then 2-0 to GB after only 7 minutes. The home side continued to apply the pressure, forcing a couple of penalty corners which they couldn’t quite convert, and some half chances for Sarah Robertson and Ellie Rayer.   
The second quarter was surprisingly goalless, as India started to come back into the game. The momentum continued to swing as both teams attacked, defended, and then counter attacked. Halfway through the quarter, India produced their best chance, a reverse stick strike from the left-hand side of goal produced a fine save from Great Britain’s goalkeeper Miriam Pritchard. GB had a half chance in the final few minutes; after good work on the left from Lily Walker, the ball made its way to Flora Peel whose attempt on the reverse was blocked by the Indian defence. 
India started to exert sustained pressure after half-time, as they dominated the chances created in the third quarter.  Pritchard was called into action again to save a reverse stick strike well, but shortly after, India got their goal. A powerful straight strike from the top of the circle by Navneet Kaur made the score 1-2. India continued to press looking for an equalise and Pritchard made another series of fine saves. They had a succession of penalty corners and from one of these came very close, a straight strike was deflected up by an Indian stick and hit the cross bar. 
The final quarter continued to be tense, as GB enjoyed more possession, but India looked for the equaliser.  It was India who struck first, a shot from Sharmila Devi on the left-hand edge of the circle was deflected up and over Pritchard in goal by a GB defender, to make it 2-2. Less than a minute later Great Britain earnt a penalty corner after some good work from Martha Taylor. Izzie Petter followed up on the rebound from the initial drag flick, to push home from close range. Final score 3-2 to GB rounding off a successful weekend with two wins from two. 

by Great Britain Hockey

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