Four Nations Hockey Tournament

England U21 Men Four Nations Tournament Belfast

From 11-13 February England U21 Men's squad are in Ireland to take part in the Four Nations Tournament in Belfast. Up against Ireland, Germany and Scotland, it's been an intense three days of high octane hockey.

Match 1: England v Germany

Due to bad weather and snow, this game has been rescheduled for Friday 14 February at 08:00.

Match 2: England 1-1 Ireland
 
England 1 (1)
Luke Taylor 8 (PC)
 
Ireland 1 (1)
Lee Cole 25 (PC)

Despite continuing terrible weather conditions in Belfast, their second match went ahead and England were first out of the starting blocks converting in the eighth minute off their first penalty corner of the evening, Luke Taylor showing great power with his drag flick conversion. Ireland finally got their chance to equalise in the 25th minute when Lee Cole dragged home a near perfect flick to level the sides.

The second half saw an injection of intensity from both sides the tempo being turned up a few notches in what produced an exciting and compelling second half for the die-hard fans who had braved the stormy weather.

Despite the lack of goals in the final 35 both sides were level with eight circle penetrations yielding Ireland one shot on goal and England two, but some good defence work particularly from Mark Ingram in goals for Ireland kept the 1-1 scoreline intact.

After the match, England U21 Men's Head Coach Jon Bleby said, "It was an exciting game - there were some pleasing performances from some of the younger players and we're making opportunities on the pitch. We still need to be more ruthless in the circle though if we're to make the most of those opportunities."

Match 3: England 7-0 Scotland

England 7 (2) 

Samuel French 8 40 (FG PC) 
Robert Farrington 24 (FG)
Joseph Sharp 54 (FG)
Luke Taylor 57 (PS)
Brendan Creed 61 (PC)
Isaac O’Connor 64 (FG)

Scotland (0)

England were flying in their second match of the tournament as they found their footing against the Scottish side. An early goal from Sam French in the eighth minute allowed England some breathing room right from the start, and this was followed up by another goal by Robert Farrington from open play 16 minutes later. Scotland worried England's circle frequently over the first half, but they couldn't manage to get past the England defense to even up the score.

In the second half England really came into their own as the goals came thick and fast with no reply from Scotland. It was Sam French who opened up the scoring again in the 40th minute, though this time it was a penalty corner that started proceedings. Before the final whistle blew six different players made their mark on the scoresheet and the game ran out 7-0 to England.

Match 4: England 2-4 Germany

In yet more trying weather conditions the rescheduled game between England and Germany was met with ice on the pitch and a decision to cancel the game, resulting in a penalty shootout (flicks) to decide the final outcome of the tournament. Despite successful flicks from Luke Taylor and Sam French, the German team was on fine penalty form and put away four of their five to win the day. The result means that England have to settle for the runners-up spot in the Four Nations Tournament.

Jon Bleby, U21 Men's Head coach said after the tournament, "It's been pleasing to be able to expose some new players to U21 international hockey over the course of the tournament, with some encouraging performances from some of the more experienced players in the squad. It was disappointing to not be able to test ourselves against the Germans due to the weather and I was disappointed with our execution in the penalty stroke competition that ended up deciding the tournament."

Belfast Four Nations Invitational U21 men final standings

1. Germany
2. England
3. Ireland
4. Scotland