The Netherlands have convincingly won their second FIH Pro League match against Great Britain. A 3-1 victory, thanks to two great goals in quick succession from Mr Rotterdam, Jeroen Hertzberger, who was competing in his 250th match for the hosts
The Netherlands were given a boost before the match with the return of their deadly penalty corner weapon Mink van der Weerden. It took just nine minutes until we once again saw the iconic fist pump and roar, that opponents have feared on the international hockey fields for a decade as van der Weerden netted his 112th international goal.
Great Britain started the match with a high intensity. Playing a high pressing, physical style of play, they created chances, but with star man Alan Forsyth being rested, the positive outcome in front of goal was sadly missing.
Despite the strange atmosphere in the Wagener Stadium, with no fans, the game remained energetic. Both sides are playing as if everything was at stake, more than a Pro League match.
In the second quarter, the Netherlands dominated the match but could not make their dominance count. Half chances fell to Mirco Pruyser and Terrance Pieters, who both narrowly shot wide before Great Britain won their second penalty corner.
An alternative routine for GB saw Phil Roper take the responsibilities from the top of the D, flicking low and hard to level the game going into the half time break.
After the interval, the worsening weather had little effect on the pace of the game. Although both teams were more tempered in their approach to keep the game calm, it was the Netherlands who won their seventh, eighth and ninth penalty corners in quick succession.
A change of plan for the hosts tenth penalty corner, the dreaded Van der Weerden was once again at the head circle. A straightforward training ground routine saw van der Weerden fire low for the onrushing Hertzberger to tip the ball past Pinner to increase the home sides lead.
Earning his 250th cap, 34-year-old Hertzberger showed that he still has plenty of life in him, as he skillfully sidestepped Jack Waller, to deflected a hard and tight cross from Robbert Kemperman (30) into the GB net to make the score 3-1. A matter of being in the right place at the right time. Something that Hertzberger has done so often for the Netherlands as he clocks up his 120th international goal.
The Netherlands and Great Britain are always entertaining hockey matches, and today they proved that the ambience and atmosphere in the national hockey stadiums are undoubtedly important, but high tempo and competitive matches can also provide a lot of entertainment without an audience.
Men’s result: Netherlands 3, Great Britain 1 (Match 2 of 2)
Player of the Match: Jeroen Hertzberger (NED)
Umpires: Laurine Delforge (BEL), Jonas van t’ Hek (NED) and Coen van Bunge (NED – video)
Cards: GB – Shipperly – Green 20, GB – Smith – Green 41