From the archives; England down Dutch in dramatic semi-finals

AJ7 scores against the Dutch in 2009

An exciting summer of hockey is shaping up in prospect with the Unibet EuroHockey Championships 2015 just around the corner. What better excuse than to take a look back at some of England’s most memorable moments in the competition? Today we focus on two dramatic semi-final wins over the Netherlands, from 2009 it’s the England men’s win over the Oranje and from 2013, the women beat them too.

The 2009 European Championships, which England won, was arguably the tournament when Ashley Jackson announced himself on the world stage. The East Grinstead man won the player of the tournament award and scored some crucial goals to take Jason Lee’s side to glory. None were more important, or more dramatic than his strike to settle the semi-final.

The opening stages of the game were end to end with Taeke Takema having some penalty corner chances well kept out by James Fair, whilst at the other end Jackson tried an outrageous lob from a tight angle that almost caught Guus Vogels out. In the 31st minute England took the lead. James Tindall took a quick free hit and found Rob Moore; his cut back from the baseline evaded Jonty Clarke but sat up nicely for Tindall who smashed a reverse stick strike into the bottom corner. Fair stood firm to see off two more penalty corners from the great Takema and England got to the break ahead.

The Dutch forced six penalty corners in the opening 15 minutes of the second half and although Fair continued to defy them, Takema managed to find a gap between the goalkeeper and Glenn Kirkham in the 49th minute to level it up. With scores level at full time the game went to golden goal extra time. No goals were scored in the first period, and it looked bleak when England were reduced to ten men in the second period after a yellow card for Ali Wilson. That was quickly forgotten as with thoughts turning to a penalty shootout, Simon Mantell fired the ball across goal and Jackson go the touch to send it into the net, with just 45 seconds left on the clock, England were victorious and would play in their first European Final since 1987, a final they would go on to win.

Maddie Hinch in action for England at the 2013 Eurohockey championships

England’s women repeated the trick of ousting the Netherlands in equally dramatic fashion at the last European Championships, in Belgium 2013.

The first half was an even affair with England weathering the storm to see off a series of penalty corners from Maartje Paumen and with Maddie Hinch making a fine save from Eva de Goede. England had a goal disallowed as Alex Danson was deemed to have played the ball with her body as she forced it over the line.

The game came to life in the second half and England took the lead. A hard hit ball into the circle was diverted in by the defender under pressure from Lily Owsley. Hinch continued to excel herself but with 18 minutes left there was nothing she could do to keep it a backhand shot into the roof of the net from Eva de Goede. There was to be no more scoring and the game went to a shootout.

The teams traded goals and goalkeepers Joyce Sombroek and Hinch traded saves, sending the shootout to sudden death, Alex Danson finished clinically putting the pressure on and Roos Drost lost control of the ball allowing Hinch to clear and sealing England’s place in the final.

With tickets on sale to this summer’s extravaganza of European hockey, you can still be there to witness the next historic moments in this exciting competition. Click here for details on how to buy your tickets.