Britain’s women were beaten by Australia and left to rue a second period in which they conceded three quick goals.
At down 4-0 with a little more than fifteen minutes to go, Britain staged a valiant fightback, goals from Hollie Pearne-Webb and Tess Howard offering a glimmer of hope.
Unfortunately Mark Hager’s side had left themselves too much to do, but the home crowd will have gone home with the knowledge of a much improved final quarter.
Of course the players wanted to win, and next up are two exciting games, firstly the Dutch in a sold-out match and then New Zealand at the Twickenham Stoop on Sunday 23 June.
The first quarter was one of few chances, Hannah Martin coming closest for either side as she smashed over from roughly ten yards out.
Into the second quarter though, and three goals in the space of five minutes turned the game in Australia’s favour to devastating effect. Firstly Maddy Fitzpatrick scored from a penalty corner, then with Britain shell-shocked they turned over possession and Brooke Peris made it two goals in a minute. Next it was the turn of Jane Claxton to find the net, Maddie Hinch left helpless after an unfortunate deflection from a defender’s stick.
After recovering from the shock of conceding three so quickly, Mark Hager’s side twice came close to getting a goal, Giselle Ansley firstly seeing a penalty corner blocked, then hitting the post with another effort before Jo Hunter was inches away from scoring on the rebound. Next Tess Howard had half a sight of goal but pulled wide at the near post just before half time.
After half time Mariah Williams made it 4-0 as Australia took the game well and truly out of reach, Hinch beaten with a good finish high into the net. Izzy Petter then danced into the D in search of a consolation for the home side but her reverse stick shot was just wide.
Hinch then produced a stunning save away to her left to keep Australia at bay from a corner, and then GB finally had their goal, captain Hollie Pearne-Webb scoring her first Great Britain goal since 2015. With a little bit of momentum building, Hannah Martin then smashed goalwards but it struck her teammate and deflected wide.
Into the final quarter, again Hinch made a very good left-handed save from a penalty corner. Into the final ten minutes, youngsters Petter and Esme Burge both looked dangerous when trying to fashion opportunities, the latter winning a corner that led to Laura Unsworth bringing two saves from Rachael Lynch.
With seven minutes to go Britain gave themselves a glimmer of hope as Tess Howard scored her third goal in three days, slamming home after Ansley’s PC was saved.
Emily Defroand was giving everything to get her team back in the game, and almost beat Lynch with a neat deflection but it was just too close to the ‘keeper. With Hinch withdrawn in favour of an extra outfield player, Howard almost pressurised the defence into a mistake as the home side had their tails up.
Lynch made two saves from a corner inside the last two minutes, and that was the end of Britain’s valiant effort in the final quarter. They ended the game well, but three goals in five minutes in the second quarter proved far too large a mountain to climb.
Pearne-Webb (43′, PC)
Peris (18′, FG)
Great Britain: Hinch (GK), Unsworth, Toman, Ansley, Pearne-Webb (c), Costello, Balsdon, Jones, Petty, Evans, Martin, Townsend, Hunter, Burge, Defroand, Howard, Petter
Courtesy of GB Hockey