Great Britain Women finished their FIH Pro League campaign with a 3-1 home win over New Zealand at the Twickenham Stoop on Sunday.
The victory ensured that they finished eighth, but the 12,000 crowd who witnessed the win could not have been happier to see their heroines end the season with three points.
Surbiton’s Izzy Petter, one of the highlights of what has proved to be a disappointing first Pro League season, came close to giving Great Britain a first quarter lead, her former Surbiton team-mate, Grace O’Hanlon making a fine save.
In the 21st minute, New Zealand thought they had taken the lead from their first penalty corner but the goal was disallowed due to a back stick offence. Two minutes later, it was Great Britain’s turn to take the lead, Lily Owsley setting up the goal chance for Surbiton’s Hannah Martin.
Martin almost snatched her second goal of the match three minutes into the third quarter, but Sally Rutherford, who replaced O’Hanlon in the Black Sticks goal for the second half, made a double save from Tess Howard before Owsley indeed did double Great Britain’s advantage in the 34th minute.
Owsley struck again from a penalty corner in the 42nd minute to give Great Britain a 3-0 lead and on the way to avenging their 5-1 defeat in the reverse fixture, but Olivia Merry, New Zealand’s prolific goalscorer pulled a goal back in the 44th minute with her 15th goal of the campaign to end the league phase as the tournament’s leading goalscorer.
Megan Hull threatened to test British nerves when her fantastic finish from New Zealand’s second penalty corner rebounded off the backboard in the penultimate minute, but a video referral showed that the injection did not leave the circle, so the goal was chalked off.
The crowd counted down the final seconds before cheering Great Britain’s victory, Head Coach Mark Hager masterminding a win against his former team.
Surbiton’s Martin, Giselle Ansley, Hollie Pearne-Webb and Izzy Petter were all in the Great Britain starting line-up with Jo Hunter coming on as a sixth minute substitute. Sabbie Heesh stayed on the Great Britain bench as Maddie Hinch played the whole game.
More information about the Women’s FIH Pro League can be found at the FIH website
The Great Britain Hockey match report can be read here
The matches are being shown on BT Sport and the schedule for all their channels can be found here