England held by Belgium in Hamburg

Ashley Jackson lines up for a penalty corner

England 3 (1)
Ashley Jackson 25, 33, 60 (FG, FG, PC)

Belgium 3 (1)
Tom Boon 26, 48 (PS, PC)
Sebastien Dockier 55 (FG)

A hat-trick from England’s Ashley Jackson, including a last-gasp penalty corner gave Bobby Crutchley’s side a share of the spoils as their opening game of the Ergo Hamburg Masters ended in a 3-3 draw with Belgium.

In a typically close affair it was England who took the lead. Iain Lewers’ pass into the circle caused the Belgian defence problems and it was Jackson who pounced to lift the loose ball into the net for his 117th goal in international hockey. The lead lasted just a minute; however as Belgium’s No27 Tom Boon levelled from the penalty spot.

Although Belgium had the better of the opening exchanges the sides went in level at the break. It was England who had the stronger third quarter and they got their noses in front in the 33rd minute. Some good work from Alastair Brogdon freed Chris Griffiths whose cut back from the baseline found its way to Jackson near the edge of the circle. The No7 fired an unerring finish into the bottom right corner giving Vincent Vanasch no chance.

The final quarter proved to be an action-packed 15 minutes as both sides went after the win. Boon notched his second goal from a penalty corner to level the scores and then Sebastien Dockier popped up to give Belgium the lead with five minutes to go.

Jérôme Truyens was shown a yellow card a minute later and with a man advantage England laid siege to the Belgian goal. They won a penalty corner with the clock ticking to 60 minutes. Jackson stepped up and found a gap through the goalkeeper’s legs via a deflection off the defender, to complete his hat-trick and earn England a deserved draw.

England Head Coach Bobby Crutchley:

“We looked rusty at the start as this is our first match play since the World League in Antwerp. Once we got going, we acquitted ourselves well and I’m fairly happy with the performance. I’m also really pleased to see David Ames and Ian Sloan make their England debuts.

We look forward to the challenges of the rest of the tournament as we continue to prepare for the Unibet EuroHockey Championships in London.”

Both these sides will compete at the Unibet EuroHockey Championships from August 21-30 at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre. You can still secure your seat for this summer's spectacular hockey action by visiting www.eurohockey2015.co.uk.