The Netherlands gained revenge for both their 2015 Euros and 2016 Olympic losses by winning an unofficial shootout at Lee Valley on Sunday afternoon after England came from 2-0 down to draw 2-2.
The shootout went to sudden death before the Netherlands won 4-3 in front of a sell out crowd at the iconic Olympic legacy venue.
England had trailed 2-0 by the end of the first quarter, Laura Nunnink deflecting in a cross from close range in only the third minute, with Laurien Leurink’s shot powering past Maddie Hinch in the 15th minute.
After a goalless second quarter, England pulled a goal back in the 42nd minute, Alex Danson scoring her 100th international goal with a determined effort to show exactly why she has been appointed captain for the summer.
With eight minutes to play, Susannah Townsend’s cross was brilliantly deflected home by former Surbiton player, Sophie Bray, now playing her club hockey in the Netherlands with Kampong, to delight the home supporters.
With neither side able to make a breakthrough in the final minutes, the game went to a shootout to decide who would have bragging rights in the second Investec International.
Surbiton’s Hollie Webb forced sudden death with England trailing 2-1 and each team with one attempt left, England goalkeeper, Maddie Hinch ensuring that the Netherlands failed to score from their final attempt.
In sudden death, Webb thought that she had won the shootout again, only for her goal to be disallowed. With the Dutch having restored their lead, Bray was fouled for the second time, Danson having failed to convert from the penalty spot in the first barrage.
Unfortunately, Nicola White also failed to score from her stroke in sudden death, enabling the Dutch to at last prevail in a shootout against England/ Great Britain.
Surbiton’s Jo Hunter was rested, but Sarah Haycroft, Hannah Martin and Webb were all in the starting line-up with Emily Defroand coming on in the seventh minute.
After the match, Defroand reflected on the game. Having played against some of the Dutch squad whilst representing Surbiton in the EuroHockey Club Cup in Den Bosch, Defroand said that “Last weekend was a very good experience, because we can sometimes take for granted how good we are.”
Regarding England’s comeback against the Dutch, Defroand added, “As a squad we are very together and have good team morale and it showed today.”
Finally, having experienced her first international hockey matches at Lee Valley, Defroand concluded, “Today was unbelievable being backed by a fantastic crowd in beautiful weather.“