Great Britain: FIH Pro League GB-Belgium double header Sunday: GB Men extend lead at top; women suffer narrow loss

Great Britain Men’s team registered a hard fought 3-1 win over Belgium in their second match of the FIH Hockey Pro League London tournament, in front of a sell-out crowd on Sunday. Stuart Rushmere (13′), Jack Waller (14′) and Nicholas Bandurak (28′) scored a goal each to help GB extend their lead on the top of the points table. Tanguy Cosyns (33’) scored the solitary goal for the visitors.  

Belgium started the match on the front foot, retaining most of the possession and making inroads in GB’s half. But by the end of the opening quarter, it was a different story as GB shook off the early jitters and opened the scoring through Stuart Rushmere, who made a brilliant run down the right and in on goal before slotting the ball home off a rebound in the 13th minute. A minute later, GB doubled the lead through another excellent finish from Jack Waller, who also scored from a rebound from the left flank to make it 2-0 at the end of the first quarter.   

Playing in front of a packed home crowd, GB rode on the momentum as they started the second quarter aggressively and made dangerous forays inside Belgium’s circle. Belgium’s defence kept the GB forwards at bay. A few minutes later, Belgium forced a penalty corner but GB’s defence line stood tall to deny the visitors from scoring. GB then earned back-to-back penalty corners and were successful in converting their second attempt as Nick Bandurak’s powerful straight strike meant Great Britain ended the first half with a dominant 3-0 lead.   

Desperately looking for an opening, Belgium started the second half on an attacking note and earned back-to-back corners inside the first three minutes. Tanguy Cosyns successfully converted the second attempt with a drag flick high into the top left of the net, making the scoreline 3-1 in the 33rd minute of the match. GB at the other end continued to create a couple of goalscoring opportunities, but Belgium’s goalkeeper averted the danger. Belgium continued to press, forcing a series of penalty corners, in the dying seconds of the quarter they had five in a row, but Mazarelo stood tall to keep the lead intact at 3-1.    

Belgium started the final quarter in a similar vein, dominating a lot of the possession and making attacking entries into the GB circle. A final penalty corner in the 54th minute, was kept out by GB’s watertight defence to seal a great 3-1 win against the Olympic champions. 

Great Britain Women’s Team went down fighting against Belgium in thieir second match of the FIH Pro League London mini tournament. Grace Balsdon (8′) and Giselle Ansley (48′) got on the scoresheet for GB women, while Charlotte Englebert (23′), Emily White (25′) and Astrid Bonami (34′) scored the goals for Belgium. 

It was a quiet start to the game as both teams took turns to attack, each earning a series of penalty corners, but they couldn’t capitalise on the opportunity. Minutes later, GB were awarded a penalty stroke as a result of penalty corner deflection which hit a Belgium defender on the line.  Grace Balsdon stepped up and placed the flick in bottom left-hand corner to make it 1-0 at the end of the first quarter.  

GB started the second quarter with a penalty corner, but missed out on converting it. Belgium now came into the ascendancy in a spell which saw them score two field goals in quick succession through Charlotte Englebert in the 23rd minute and Emily White in the 25th minute respectively, taking them into half-time with a 2-1 lead.  

Belgium started the second half strongly as they extended the lead in the 34th minute through Astrid Bonami, who scored the away side’s third goal from an open play. GB pressed trying to get a goal back, but Belgium managed to keep the home side at bay as they had the majority possession throughout the third quarter.  

Great Britain made a fast start to the final quarter. Their efforts were rewarded with back-to-back penalty corners and Giselle Ansley’s low drag flick deflected off the keeper’s pad to pull a goal back in the 48th minute to make it 2-3.  GB continued to press for an equalizer, taking off Sabbie Heesh in goal with 6 minutes left, but couldn’t capitalize on the advantage of 11 outfield players and Belgium held on for the win. 

Men’s – Fri 2 June 2023 – 14:30 – India v Belgium
Women’s – Fri 2 June – 17:00 – Great Britain v China 

Men’s – Sat 3 June – 12:30 – Great Britain v India
Women’s – Sat 3 June – 15:00 – China v Belgium 

Men’s – Sun 4 June – 12:30 – Great Britain v Belgium
Women’s – Sun 4 June – 15:00 – Great Britain v Belgium 

  • Under 18s from £8 for TWO games, adults from £18.50   
  • Two mini-tournaments at Lee Valley Hockey Tennis Centre in May & June 2023   
  • Great Britain playing some of the world’s best teams   
  • Lots of low price seats still available.   

Make sure you don’t miss out and get your tickets here! 

All games will be broadcast live on BT Sport 

by Great Britain Hockey

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