- England women denied by late China equaliser after Tess Howard goal in 1-1 draw
- Beeston take Women’s Tier 1 EH Championship Trophy, beating Buckingham 3-1
China win shootout 4-3 to earn bonus point
A goal scored with only three seconds remaining denied England’s women all three points against China at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre.
In a hard-fought encounter, Tess Howard continued her comeback from injury with a super goal, and it looked set to give David Ralph’s side victory, only for Bingfeng Gu to score from a corner with the final touch of normal time.
China then took victory in the post-match shootout to give themselves a further bonus point, marking a remarkable turnaround for the visitors, who looked set to come away with nothing until the 59th minute. But they battled hard throughout and deserved credit for their endeavours.
England though get the chance for revenge on Sunday when the two teams face off again at 2:30pm on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
England: Heesh (GK), Pearne-Webb (C), Ansley, Balsdon, Crackles, Peel, Hunt, Owsley, Rayer, Martin, Malzer
Subs (used): Unsworth, Howard, Neal, S Hamilton, Taylor, Walker
Sub (unused): Pritchard (GK)
The first quarter was a cagey affair; England on the front foot but unable to exert consistent pressure on Ping Liu in the China goal. Tess Howard came closest with an effort not too far wide of the upright.
Into the second period and England’s ‘keeper Sabbie Heesh produced a vital save right on the goalline as China found themselves with a breakaway into the English D; the best chance of the game thus far. Down the other end Howard again looked a threat, linking up very nicely inside the Chinese area but angling her shot ever so slightly wide.
Right on half time China’s Hong Li showed great bravery to deny England from a penalty corner, taking a whack to the chest for her trouble.
Into the second half, England injected more urgency and Holly Hunt came close to creating a chance with an impressive dart down the right hand side. Eventually though the deadlock was broken and it came down that same side, Lily Owsley driving nicely into China territory before Howard produced a wonderful touch to deflect home.
The final quarter was a rather staccato affair, punctuated by video referrals which took the momentum out of the encounter. Although the award of a penalty stroke to China was overturned, the stoppages seemed to favour the battling visitors, and when Hollie Pearne-Webb was penalised with three seconds to go; eventually Bingfeng Gu turned home a corner to take a point.
Into the shootout, China had an early advantage was Hannah Martin’s effort was repelled, and they scored all of their attempts, meaning that Grace Balsdon’s saved penalty stroke gave the visitors the bonus point.
Howard (39 FG)
Bingfeng Gu (59 PC)
England 1-0 China – Howard scored
England 1-1 China – Luo scored
England 1-1 Martin – Martin saved
England 1-2 China – H Li scored
England 2-2 China – Owsley scored
England 2-3 China – M Zhang scored
England 3-3 China – Peel scored
England 3-4 China – Zhong scored
England 3-4 China – Balsdon stroke saved after Rayer fouled – China take the extra point
Beeston victorious in women’s Tier 1 final
Beeston lifted the Tier 1 Championship trophy after defeating Buckingham 3-1 in an entertaining final at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre.
Hannah Grieve, Lucy Millington and Lauren Burrell netted for the victors to open up a 3-0 lead, with Lauren Thomas scoring Buckingham’s late consolation.
Beeston were first to threaten when Millington made a superb solo run into the circle but her ball across could not find a teammate.
It did not take long for the Nottingham outfit to make the breakthrough, however, as another incisive attack was ended when Cerys Miller was brought down by Buckingham goalkeeper Nicole Marks.
Grieve stepped up and dispatched the penalty stroke into the top corner, much to the delight of the hearty travelling contingent.
Buckingham grew into the contest and came close to levelling through Georgina Black, whose effort was kept out by Steph Tirrell at her near post.
But Beeston were in ruthless mood and doubled their lead just four minutes into the second quarter, Millington converting following a penalty corner.
Buckingham scrambled clear following another dangerous Millington run shortly afterwards and later spurned a chance to get themselves on the scoresheet, breaking quickly from a Beeston penalty corner only for the final pass to evade Black in the circle.
Miller came close to adding a third either side of the half time buzzer, the second opportunity set up by a fine reverse pass by Alice Huddlestone from the left touchline, and Nadia Benallal also came within a whisker of stretching the advantage but failed to connect to a deflected effort with the goal at her mercy.
Ella Cusack was denied by a smart Marks stop in the final quarter as Beeston looked to put the result beyond doubt, which they did when Lauren Burrell diverted Grieve’s shot home following a penalty corner on the hour mark.
Buckingham got the goal back their efforts deserved with three minutes remaining, a penalty corner of their own resulting in Lauren Thomas drilling into the bottom corner, but Beeston saw out the closing stages to etch their name on to the trophy.
Knole Park 2nd XI lifted the Tier 4 trophy after an inspired display saw them defeat Golborne 5-0.
The Kent side started the game on top and, after forcing a string of short corners without finding the net, Summer Knight-Thompson broke the deadlock in the 13th minute with a fine solo effort.
The same player doubled her tally with a smart reverse stick finish nine minutes later and it was 3-0 before half time as Evie Smith popped up at the back post to tap home Alessia Turner’s pass.
Golborne goalkeeper Becky Baldock superbly kept out a penalty stroke in the second half but she could not prevent Charlotte Watkins’ deflected effort adding to Knole Park’s advantage in the 41st minute to put the game out of reach.
Golborne kept battling and created a string of half-chances as they sought to pull one back but Knole Park’s clinical edge shone through with five minutes to go as Celia Foster’s reverse stick shot made it 5-0.
With thanks to England Hockey