Surbiton’s Chris Grassick returned to the Great Britain Men’s squad after an eighteen month absence, but the Netherlands secured a bonus point with a 4-3 shootout win after a 2-2 draw in normal time at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre on Friday night.
Grassick returned along with Ashley Jackson who will play for Old Georgians next season and both players played their part in an entertaining match in front of a large crowd.
In the first quarter, Grassick came close to scoring in the tenth minute his shot deflecting off Sam van der Ven in the Dutch goal and landing on top of the net.
Surbiton’s Tom Sorsby was once again working hard in defence to stop an Dutch attack early in the second quarter. Jeroen Hertzberger gave the Netherlands the lead in the 20th minute, perfectly placed to beat George Pinner from a Dutch free hit.
Jackson was Great Britain’s penalty corner threat but was denied three times in the first half by van der Ven. Pinner was also on top form to deny Mirco Pruijser.
Surbiton’s Harry Gibson replaced Pinner in goal for the second half and soon had work to do as the Dutch aimed to double their advantage. Great Britain started to put pressure on the Dutch defence and in the 38th minute, Jackson set up a goal scoring chance for Chris Griffiths to fire home from the right of the circle into the far corner.
Surbiton’s Zach Wallace then tested van der Ven before the Netherlands restored their lead after Great Britain turned the ball over. Hertzberger finished in style with nine minutes remaining.
Still trailing with five minutes to play, Head Coach Danny Kerry replaced Gibson with an eleventh outfield player. With 58.4 seconds remaining, Jackson found Surbiton’s Alan Forsyth who won a penalty corner which Great Britain video referred for a stick tackle and a possible penalty stroke.
To add to the drama, the umpire’s microphones weren’t working so communication was carried out on the sideline before the umpire ran back towards the circle before signalling a penalty stroke to the delight of the home fans.
Forsyth stepped up and slotted the ball into the bottom right corner to restore parity and set up another shootout.
The Netherlands went first in the shootout, Jorrit Croon quickly spinning round to beat Pinner and find the backboard. Forsyth also spun round for Great Britain’s first attempt but sent his shot past the right post.
Pruijser doubled the Dutch advantage before Phil Roper found the backboard to reduce the lead to 2-1.
Jonas de Geus saw his shot saved by Pinner, Jackson cheekily chipping the ball into the goal to level the score at 2-2.
Hertzberger put the Netherlands 3-2 ahead before David Ames equalised diving forwards while scoring. Pirmin Blaak, the Dutch goalkeeper, asked for a video referral, claiming obstruction but the referral was rejected.
Seve van Ass gave the Dutch a 4-3 lead, but GB captain Adam Dixon could only shoot high and wide as the Netherlands claimed the bonus point.
Forsyth, Grassick and Brendan Creed were all in the Great Britain starting line-up. Wallace came on in the third minute with Sorsby and James Gall entering the pitch two minutes later.
More information about the Men’s FIH Pro League can be found at the FIH website
All the matches are being shown live on BT Sport and the schedule for all their channels can be found here
The Great Britain Hockey Match Report can be read here