Pro-League: Netherlands Go Top of the Pro-League

The Orange Men have taken the lead in the FIH Pro League by also winning against England on Sunday. The Netherlands played well, but scored some great goals that were enough for a 3-6 win at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Center in London. After ten matches (won eight, drew two), the team of coach Jeroen Delmée is still unbeaten in this prestigious competition.

The road to the final victory in the Pro League is open to the Orange, which has 28 points from ten matches. India has been the leader since Sunday and the number two with 25 points from twelve matches. India is coming to Europe this month and will play against the Netherlands (18 and 19 June) and Belgium. The Orange squad will meet the number three in the ranking for a double in Hamburg next weekend: Germany.

If our eastern neighbors have watched Orange’s duels against England, they know that they have to be sharp at the start of the game. Because where the Netherlands already opened the score after three minutes on Saturday , it was even hit within a minute on Sunday. After a pass from Jorrit Croon, the ball came to Derck de Vilder. The Kampong midfielder was given every opportunity to control the ball and then flattened hard against the board: 0-1.

Derck de Vilder is applauded after the 0-1. Photo: Frank Uijlenbroek

The Orange continued to insist after that goal and got the first penalty corner after three minutes. It was taken by Jip Janssen, but could be turned around relatively easily by goalie Oliver Payne.

After that chance, it was the home team that took matters into their own hands and put the Orange under considerable pressure in the remainder of the first quarter. England deserved a series of penalty corners, which were made harmless by good defense by the Dutch offshoots (with Jasper Brinkman in front). The Netherlands had a hard time and only managed to get out of it little by little.


The two-minute break between the first and second quarter came in handy for the Orange. With renewed energy, Delmée’s team resumed the second quarter, in which it again scored quickly. It was De Vilder again, this time after a subtle pass from captain Thierry Brinkman. De Vilder then lashed out, the ball hit like a grenade behind Payne: 0-2. A goal worth looking back at.

Derck de Vilder lashes out for the 0-2. Photo: Frank Uijlenbroek

The second goal put the Orange in a seat early. Delmée’s team sealed the defense, allowed England the ball and waited for a counterattack. That opportunity came after 25 minutes when Tjep Hoedemakers break was able to put the turbo on it Then the Orange striker can no longer be held, so that he was able to tap in the 0-3 while sliding.

Nothing wrong

Nothing to worry about, you would say, but the Netherlands failed to maintain concentration in the remainder of the second quarter. Offensively it was easier to lose the ball and defensively there were holes. England took advantage of that. Completely free in the circle, Nicholas Bandurak was able to outsmart goalkeeper Maurits Visser with a simple stick movement: 1-3. A goal of which something was certainly said at half time by Delmée, who attaches great importance to a solid defense.

Jeroen Delmee cheers after another goal from Orange. Photo: Frank Uijlenbroek

The Orange needed a good defense after the break, because England was stronger. A lot stronger even. The Netherlands barely got out. We had to wait for a goal for the home team. That fell after 38 minutes and was credited to Stuart Rushmere, who promoted to 2-3 on a rebound after a corner from Phil Roper. Suddenly there wasn’t much left of that big 0-3 lead. That also applied to self-confidence, because the Netherlands had nothing more to contribute and had lost their minds for a while. Visser prevented the 3-3 with a catlike reaction.


But as is often the case under Delmée’s rule, Orange struck unexpectedly. And again it was a wonderful goal. Jorrit Croon got the ball from a sparse lunge. He served with a scoop Tjep Hoedemakers. He let the ball bounce once and then played tennis nicely behind Payne: 2-4. A goal that showed many similarities with his goal from Saturday. That was his third, with his two goals on Sunday, the Rotterdam attacker brought his total in this Pro League to five goals.

Maurits Visser enjoys another save. Photo: Frank Uijlenbroek

That was not the end of the goals for the spectators in London. The English seemed to be able to cheer for their heroes at first, but Visser miraculously prevented Christopher Griffiths’ 3-4 (without helmet). In the counterpunch, the Orange struck again. Jaïr van der Horst freed himself in the circle, hit a good backhand that was converted to 2-5 by Floris Wortelboer. A simple tip-in, it was something different after all those wonderful goals.

In the goal feast, Stuart Rushmere’s 3-5, his second of the day, was not out of place. He soloed through the Dutch defender and outwitted Visser with a watched backhand.

The final agreement was ultimately for the new leader of FIH Pro League. With goalkeeper Payne on the side, the Orange countered via Terrance Pieters and Dennis Warmerdam to 3-6.

England v Netherlands 3-6 (1-3)
1. Derck de Vilder 0-1
18. Derck de Vilder 0-2
25. Tjep Hoedemakers 0-3
29. Nicholas Bandurak 1-3
38. Stuart Rushmere 2-3 (sc)
45. Tjep Hoedemakers 2-4
47. Floris Wortelboer 2-5
51. Stuart Rushmere 3-5
60. Dennis Warmerdam 3-6

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