Support through Sport UK's Claire Allen covered Day three of the Investec Hockey London Cup ...
The four matches of the day included Scotland versus South Africa and England versus Ireland in the men’s competition, and Wales versus South Africa and Scotland versus England in the women’s competition.
A scorcher of a day attracted hundreds of people to the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre, all keen to witness some top-notch hockey.
Kicking off the morning, Scotland faced South Africa in the men’s competition. A very close game, with evenly matched sides, meant both teams had to fight hard to secure goals. The first half went South Africa’s way, with goals from Austin Smith and Jean-Pierre De Voux - but Scotland dominated in the second half, with Dan Coultas and Wei Adams finding the back board. However, Wade Paton’s close range finish ensured that South Africa held the game, winning 3-2.
Next up, England's men faced Ireland. England kept up their winning streak, beating Ireland by four goalsto one. England took the lead right from the start, holding their stance and leaving no opportunities for their Irish opponents to break through. However, a clever ariel into the D in the second half allowed Ireland’s Ronan Gormley to slide home a goal for Ireland. English goals came from Barry Middleton, Alistair Brogdon, Harry Martin and Henry Weir.
After the break, the women’s competition got under way, and first up was South Africa versus Wales. The South African side dominated the Welsh, surrounding them at every opportunity ... never allowing them free reign. Unfortunately this led to a very one sided game, with Wales struggling to keep possession. However, they did break through on two occasions, with goals from Emma Batten and Eloise Laity. This just wasn’t enough though to keep the South Africans at bay, though, who netted eight goals (Shelley Russell, Celia Evans, Jayne Mayne, Ilse Davids, Kathleen Taylor, Chamberlain and Bright).
The last game of the day saw England's women take on Scotland. This was another highly-charged game, with a lot of battling for the ball and back and forth play as both teams fought to dominate. Towards the end of the first half, England broke through the Scottish defence with an impressive pass from Sophie Bray to Alex Danson - who sent the ball crashing into the back board. It was then Danson who set up the second goal, just after half time, firing into the D and finding Ellie Watton. The Scottish side didn't back down though; Nikki Kidd scoring in the 49thminute. England ultimately managed to hold on to a 2-1 win.
It was a fantastic day of hockeyand, on the Sunday, both the men's and women's Engalnd teams secured victories in the finals.
A massive thank you to all the UK players who signed autographs and posed for photos; it’s always hugely appreciated. Also, a big thank you to the lovely ladies of Wootton Wanderers Hockey Club, and Teresa from Phoenix Flyerz, for making the day so enjoyable. I look forward to seeing how the UK teams fare at the Commonwealth Games!