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Sophie Bray strikes first but Olympic gold medalists fight back for victory
England Hockey Results Service
Investec Challenge, Cape Town, South Africa
Tuesday, 5 February 2013
NETHERLANDS 4 (2)
Kitty Van Male 24 (F)
Maartje Paumen 27,38 (PC, PC)
Roos Drost 39 (F)
ENGLAND 1 (1)
Sophie Bray 4 (F)
After a promising start to their second match of the Investec Challenge in Cape Town, England were beaten 4-1 by the Olympic Champions the Netherlands on Tuesday afternoon. Sophie Bray got England off to the best possible start against the Dutch with an excellent early goal but following a controversially disallowed second English strike, the girls in orange showed their class as goals from Kitty Van Male and Roos Drost sandwiched a penalty corner double from Netherlands’ captain Maartje Paumen.
Team leader Karen Brown admitted afterwards that the Dutch outshone England, saying: “They [the Netherlands] were better than us and at times we were hanging on a bit, particularly in the second half. There was a ten or 15 minute spell after half time where the Dutch were definitely on top and we struggled to regain a foothold.”
Bowdon Hightown goalkeeper Kirsty Mackay was handed her first start for England in the match. The 26 year old had previously made four appearances for Great Britain and has spent part of the past two years recovering from a back injury. Reading defender Sam Quek returned to the side having sat out Monday’s defeat to South Africa with a facial injury.
Bray, who plays her club hockey in the Netherlands for MOP, struck the first blow for England as she skilfully fired home on her reverse with just four minutes on the clock following a good interception in the midfield by Surbiton’s Sarah Haycroft. The goal was Bray’s first senior international goal. And it could have been even better for England when Dilly Newton looked to have doubled the lead seven minutes later. But having initially been awarded her penalty corner shot was disallowed following a protest from the Dutch who claimed the ball crossed the line too high from the straight strike.
Olympic gold medallist Kitty Van Male equalised just over ten minutes before half time for the Netherlands and moments later Dutch captain Maartje Paumen showed why she is widely regarded as one of the best penalty corner specialists in the world as she made it 2-1.
England struggled to cope with the pressing Dutch game early in the second half and fell further behind conceding two goals in as many minutes. Paumen’s second drag flick corner put her side in the driving seat before Roos Drost made it 4-1 in the 39th minute.
While England’s fresh-look side steadied the ship they could not find a way back into the match and so it finished 4-1.
Speaking afterwards, England team leader Karen Brown said despite the result, England’s new players had performed well. “Sophie Bray took her goal well today and while it was difficult for some of our more attacking players to get into the game, I thought Hollie Webb and Sarah Haycroft played well, while Steph Elliott put in a determined, gritty performance,” said Brown.
England now have a rest day before facing Australia in their final pool match on Thursday afternoon (16:00 GMT).
ENGLAND TEAM v NETHERLANDS
Caps & goals updated on the attached sheet
Sophie Bray (MOP (NED))
Steph Elliott (University of Durham)
Susie Gilbert (co-capt) (Reading)
Sarah Haycroft (Surbiton)
Kirsty Mackay (GK) (Bowdon)
Dilly Newton (Canterbury)
Lauren Turner (HDM (NED))
Laura Unsworth (co-capt) (Loughborough Students)
Ellie Watton (Beeston)
Hollie Webb (Beeston)
Nic White (Leicester)
Giselle Ansley (Loughborough Students)
Beckie Herbert (Pinoke (NED))
Jo Hunter (Leicester)
Jo Leigh (Clifton)
Sam Quek (Reading)
Susannah Townsend (Canterbury)