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24th August 2019

By Colin Pike

England Men finished fifth and secured their place in the top flight of the EuroHockey Championships in Antwerp, beating Scotland 3-0 in their final Pool C match on Saturday.

Scotland were relegated back to EuroHockey Championships II for 2021 after Wales beat Ireland 4-0 in the final Pool C game, Wales staying up with England whilst relegating Ireland.

The match saw Surbiton’s Nick Parkes win his 100th Scottish cap.

Scotland needed goalkeeper Tommy Alexander to make a triple save in the first minute as England came speeding out of the traps against the Auld Enemy.

Scotland held out until 11 seconds from the end of the first quarter, Sam Ward spinning round before beating Alexander with a shot into the bottom left corner.
Scotland’s Duncan Riddell and England’s Tom Sorsby were both sent to the sin-bin in the 15th minute after a clash.

England failed to score from their first three penalty corners, but Scotland’s hopes weren’t helped when Tim Atkins was shown a yellow card for a foul on his Surbiton teammate Sorsby in the 26th minute. England quickly took advantage when a minute later, Ashley Jackson fired a penalty corner shot into the top right corner and Ward converted England’s fifth penalty corner in the 29th minute to give England a 3-0 lead.

Ward came close to notching a hat-trick in the 34th minute, but after spectacularly connecting with Will Calnan’s cross from the left, the goal was chalked off for a backstick offence.

Scotland were again down to 10 players after Kenny Bain had seen yellow a minute earlier, but this time, England were unable to extend their lead.

England forced nine penalty corners in the match, Alan Forsyth blocking the eighth but unluckily leading to the award of the ninth.

In an attempt to reduce their goal difference, Scotland forced three penalty corners in the last minute, with England showing sportsmanship in the dying seconds by avoiding the need for Scotland to use the video referral by admitting that they had indeed conceded the third penalty corner of the sequence.

Harry Gibson was able to complete his clean sheet in England’s last match before the upcoming Olympic Qualifiers.

Gibson played the whole game in goal and was joined in England’s starting lineup by Brendan Creed and Zach Wallace. Sorsby came on as a third minute substitute with James Gall following a minute later.

Captain Alan Forsyth was in the Scottish starting lineup with Atkins coming on as a fourth minute substitute and Parkes following a minute later.