U21 men take NOW: Pensions Nations Plate

England U21 men play Malaysia in NOW Pensions Nations Plate Story

ENGLAND 5 (2)
Sam French 16 (PC)
Rob Farrington 24, 57 (FG, PC)
Luke Taylor 59 (PC)
Nick bandurak 63 (FG)

MALAYSIA 6 (3)
Zulhairi Hashim 6, 9 21, 68 (PC)
Azrul Hasbullah 53 (FG)
Rashid Baharom 69 (FG)

The final match of the NOW: Pensions Nations Plate was an eleven goal thriller which saw the Malaysian U21 side steal a 6 – 5 win against England U21s right at the end.

Malaysia were 2 – 0 up after just nine minutes with two almost identical goals from penalty corners, converted by Zulhairi Hashim. England pulled a goal back when Sam French finished off a well-worked penalty corner routine, however Hashim’s hat-trick came on 20 minutes after he fired home another penalty corner. Rob Farrington made it 3 – 2 going into the break with a powerful reverse stick strike from the top of the circle.

After half time, Azrul Hasbullah added to the Malaysian tally, making it 4 – 2, before three goals in seven minutes from England’s Farrington, Luke Taylor and Nick Bandurak gave the home side a 5 – 4 lead going into the final minutes. Hashim was on target again though from a penalty corner to bring the sides level again, before Rashid Baharom grabbed the winner late on to leave the final score at 6 – 5. 

With nothing to separate the two sides over the three match series, it went to a penalty shoot out to determine the winners. After five shuttles each and the scores still tied, it went to sudden death. Player of the series, Rob Farrington stepped up and calmly converted after Diccon Stubbings had saved the Malaysian shuttle before, securing a NOW: Pensions Nations Plate victory for England U21s. 

Speaking about the U21s performance across the series and the preparation for the U21 Junior World Cup in Delhi in December, Head Coach Jon Bleby said, "I think this series has been brilliant for our preparations and it’s great to play against the Malaysians who have such a different style of hockey to us. Winning the series on a shoot out was obviously an added bonus. I think Rob Farrington has had a really good series and he has a lot of potential in that midfield role; he's certainly one to keep an eye on in the future."