Great Britain finish Hockey Champions Trophy with victory over New Zealand
PUBLISHED: 14:33 27 June 2016
RSK Ghowry www.rskg.co.uk
A hat-trick from Alex Danson ensured Great Britain finished the Hockey Champions Trophy with a 4-3 victory over New Zealand.
The tournament, which saw the top six ranked teams compete at London’s Lee Valley Hockey Centre, had not been the best for the home nation.
An opening day draw against Argentina was followed by four defeats for Britain’s ladies, leaving them bottom of the pool stage.
That put them into a play-off with the Kiwis for fifth place and they delivered when it mattered.
Lily Owsley got the other goal in a game that swung back and forth.
Danson opened the scoring on 10 minutes, slamming a backhand strike home after a lovely pass by Sophie Bray.
Anita McLaren levelled things up midway through the second quarter but Owsley made sure GB led at the half-time interval, Danson the provider on this occasion.
GB then extended their advantage minutes into the third quarter.
A slick penalty corner routine involving a double dummy set up Laura Unsworth whose pass found Danson.
Olivia Merry pulled one back six minutes later with a penalty corner of their own and the Blacksticks were level two minutes into quarter four.
Again it cmae from a set-piece, Kelsey Smith deflecting in Kayla Whitelock’s effort.
But roared on by a fanatical home crowd, Danson broke through and produced a sublime finish to loft the ball over Sally Rutherford to complete her hat-trick and the win.
The hat-trick hero was still confident that despite the results at the tournament, the team would be ready for Rio.
She said: “Even though it has been a difficult week the one thing that hasn’t been lost is that sense of togetherness.
“We know what we are about, we knew coming into this tournament it could go brilliantly well or not so well but it would have no impact on what we can achieve going into Rio.
“I believe we have the best programme out there, the best staff and the best players.
“It is pretty exciting moving into the final period of time before the Olympics.”
The Olympic squad is announced at 10am tomorrow (Tuesday) and after featuring in all six games during the tournament, St Albans Hockey Club’s Hannah Macleod will be hoping, along with Tangerine team-mate Ellie Watton, for good news.