Narrow defeat for England Men

England and GB captain Barry Middleton in action

England 1 (1)
Phil Roper 11 (FG)

Australia 2 (1)
Kieran Govers 20 (PC)
Chris Ciriello 70 (PC)

England Men lost out 1-2 to Australia in a close test match encounter at Bisham Abbey on Saturday, as their preparations for the Rabobank World Cup continue.

Phil Roper’s first half goal gave England the lead, but Australia hit back to level and snatched the win from a penalty corner in the final minute.

“It’s very disappointing to lose to a highly-ranked team after a fairly evenly matched game, however I thought we could’ve done better with a number of chances that we created,” said Head Coach Bobby Crutchley.

Despite the narrow defeat the match was memorable for captain Barry Middleton (pictured), who became England and Great Britain’s most capped player as he stepped out for the 308th time, surpassing Russell Garcia, who previously held the record at 307.

Crutchley added: “As a player Barry is a consummate professional; his approach to both his training and his own personal development allows him to keep making improvements even after a decade of playing at the very top.

“As a captain, he leads by example and is incredibly selfless; all the lads in the squad have a huge amount of respect for him and it’s been great to watch his leadership of the group develop across the five years since he took the Captain’s armband back in 2009.”

Click here to see squad and caps information for the England teams.

Things began well for England against Australia as Wimbledon’s Phil Roper gave them the lead after 11 minutes. An aerial ball from the right led to Tim Whiteman putting the ball across the front of goal, where Roper deflected home from two yards out.

But their lead lasted just nine minutes before Kieran Govers scored at a penalty corner. Middleton got a stick to the shot but couldn’t stop it trickling over the line.

The scoreline remained tied until the last 45 seconds, when Australia’s Chris Ciriello scored from another penalty corner. George Pinner managed to get a hand to the shot, but couldn’t stop it going in.

The two sides meet again in another test match at Bisham Abbey on Sunday, May 25, starting at 3pm.