Australia beat England to win Investec World League

IWL Final story image
England 0 (0)

Australia 3 (2)
Ashleigh Nelson, FG, 12
Kellie White, FG, 23
Emily Smith, FG, 60

The final of the Investec World League was played out to a packed crowd at Chiswick between Australia and England.  The Pool B opponents had met earlier in the week when the match ended in a close 1-1 draw, but both sides knew that this fixture would be played out until there was a victor. Unfortunately for England they came up against an Australian side in fantastic form and goals from Ashleigh Nelson, Kellie White and Emily Smith assured the Hockeyroos first place and a 3-0 victory.

Reflecting on the match and the tournament as a whole, England Head Coach Jason Lee said, “We are disappointed with the loss today, but overall I think we can be really pleased with how the tournament and the week has gone. Three months ago we were slightly worried about World Cup qualification but I like the fact that we have smashed that. I think the team has grown through the tournament, we just didn’t have enough fitness to get us through today, but that will come in time. I’m very pleased with how they did; I thought their commitment was brilliant and their skill level was great.” Holcombe’s Maddie Hinch was voted best player of the tournament following her heroic efforts in England’s goal all week.

Australia started the match with a push back that led to an impressive run at goal, but a well timed interception from Reading’s Susie Townsend meant that play turned over to England’s favour. However, this success was short lived, as Australia were energetic and bold in their play, keeping tight to their opposition and making speedy runs at goal. 
They made their breakthrough in the 12th minute when Ashleigh Nelson slotted the ball past the England defenders, to give the Hockeyroos a 1-0 lead.

Australia grew in stature after scoring their first goal and continued to fight hard and put pressure on England, with both their clever attacking and fierce defending. England newcomer Lily Owsley managed to make a break for the goal but was unable to capitalise on a rare defensive slip by Australia. Moments later the Hockeyroos were back down their attacking end where Kellie White slid a second goal past Holcombe’s Maddie Hinch to take a 2-0 lead into the break.

The play continued in much the same fashion for the majority of the second half; Australia picking off balls and intercepting passes and generally dominating possession. But England never stopped fighting, and were almost rewarded by efforts from Reading’s Alex Danson and Leicester’s Nicola White who both came close. 

In the 60th minute England found themselves three goals down as Australia dealt their final blow. Emily Smith put herself in a great position to receive a pass coming into the circle and she pushed her shot home with great accuracy to make it 3-0.

Despite all efforts, including using a kicking back with three minutes to go, England were unable to get a consolation goal and the game played out with the scoreline unchanged. 

Speaking after the game, Kate Walsh said “It’s never nice to lose a match, especially in a final, but hats off to Australia; I thought they played a fantastic tournament. Around the circle they looked like Aussie teams of old. Overall we developed through the tournament like Jason said, and as a young team going forward I think we have a bright future. The Europeans is on the horizon and I’d certainly like to go and get something better than a bronze medal this time; I’ve got five of them already!”

Next up for the England women is the TriFinance EuroHockey Championships in Boom, Belgium. The tournament runs from 17-25 August; England will face Germany, Spain and Scotland in Pool B and it will be shown on the BBC Red Button, iplayer and online.

England men are still in action in their World League Semi Final out in Malaysia; watch them live on the FIH You Tube channel as they take on hosts Malaysia at 12:00 (UK time) on Tuesday.