England qualified for the quarter finals of the Hero Hockey World League after a convincing 7-3 win over Malaysia. Two goals apiece for Barry Middleton, Mark Gleghorne and Sam Ward as well as a strike from Chris Griffiths, rounded off a dominant display for Bobby Crutchley’s side, much to the delight of the home crowd at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre.
England showed attacking intent from the outset and their early dominance was rewarded when Barry Middleton broke the deadlock in the fifth minute. The number 17 dived in at the near post to expertly apply a first time finish to Harry Martin’s cross. Three minutes later Chris Griffiths doubled the host’s lead. The East Grinstead striker linked up with Sam Ward, before continuing his run to pick up the return pass and finish from close range. Malaysia threatened towards the end of the first quarter through a penalty corner but Middleton was off the line quickly to charge down Razie Rahim’s drag flick.
Three minutes into the second quarter Malaysia halved the deficit. Rahim’s penalty corner strike hit Middleton on the line and Faizal Saari stepped up to calmly convert the resultant penalty stroke. England immediately came close to restoring their two goal cushion through both Middleton and Gleghorne but they were soon left rueing missed chances as Malaysia drew level in the 28th minute. Saari’s low drag flick was saved by George Pinner but Tengku Tajuddin reacted quickest to the rebound, to leave the score finely poised at 2-2 heading into the break.
Bobby Crutchley’s half time team talk proved to be effective as England scored two goals in as many minutes at the start of the third quarter. Firstly, Ward converted a well work penalty corner routine, before Middleton bagged his second of the game when his powerful shot went through the legs of Kumar Subramiam. David Condon’s smashed a powerful reverse stick strike onto the post before a fantastic team move gave England an unassailable 5-2 lead. Martin linked up with goal scorer Griffiths, and his first time cross was converted by Gleghorne.
David Goodfield set up Ward in the 51st minute to give the striker his second of the game before Gleghorne made it a magnificent seven with an unstoppable drag flick into the top left corner. Saari’s consolation goal took the final score to 7-3 as his powerful drag flick matched that of Gleghorne’s in the closing stages of an action packed encounter.
England sit top of Pool A and next take on Olympic Champions Argentina at 16.00 tomorrow. Tickets are available for Super Sunday here, which also features India vs Pakistan.
England: George Pinner (GK), Henry Weir, Brendan Creed, Michael Hoare, Liam Sanford, Ollie Willars, Ian Sloan (C), David Ames, Adam Dixon, David Goodfield, Barry Middleton, Harry Martin, David Condon, Phil Roper, Sam Ward, Mark Gleghorne, Chris Griffiths, Harry Gibson (GK)
England 7 (2)
Barry Middleton, 5, 34 (FG, FG); Chris Griffiths, 8 (FG); Sam Ward, 32, 51 (PC, FG); Mark Gleghorne, 39, 55 (FG, PC);
Malaysia 3 (2)
Faizal Saari, 19, 57 (PS, PC); Tajuddin Tengku, 28 (PC)
India vs Pakistan
At 2pm on Sunday afternoon, India face Pakistan in a vital hockey match on the same day as the two nations meet in cricket on the other side of London. With demand for hockey tickets resulting in gates opening earlier than normal on Sunday, and a TV audience of millions, it’s bound to be an afternoon to remember.
There are plenty of links between the sports, and cricketer MS Dhoni has an ownership stake in the Ranchi Rays hockey team, which features India’s national team captain Manpreet Singh among others. There is plenty of intrigue on the pitch too, with India having won both games so far, but Pakistan having lost both.
Scotland 0-3 Netherlands
Goals from Robbert Kemperman, Mink van der Weerden and Valentin Verga gave the Netherlands a second win in Pool B. Scotland put up good resistance and had chances to get on the scoresheet, but the Dutch took all three points to further cement their position in the Pool. Scotland are next in action on Monday when they take on Pakistan at midday.