England beaten by Russia in opening game

Susie Gilbert takes on the Russia defence

England 2 (1)
Hannah Martin 9 (FG)
Grace Balsdon 28 (PC)

Russia 6 (5)
Valeriia Borisova 1, 15 (FG, FG)
Ekaterina Stepanenko 7 (FG)
Svetlana Eroshina 12, 15, 39 (FG, FG, FG)

A devastating display of clinical first half finishing from Russia condemned England to a 6-2 defeat in their opening match of the 2016 EuroHockey Indoor Championship II in Cambrai, France.

Valeriia Borisova helped herself to two early goals, adding to a brace for Svetlana Eroshina and one from Ekaterina Stepanenko making the half time score 5-1 to Russia. Hannah Martin struck England’s opener in the ninth minute but the deadly accuracy of the Russian strikers left Andy Halliday’s side with a mountain to climb in the second half.

England’s slow start allowed the more experienced Russian side to take control of the game and although England built some pressure and momentum int eh second half, the damage had already been done. Canterbury’s Grace Balsdon registered a penalty corner in the second half to reduce the arrears but Eroshina completed her hat-trick with moments to go in the match.

Head Coach Andy Halliday told England Hockey afterwards:

“I always knew we would need a tough game against a solid international indoor team to sharpen our. Although we were naive in many areas and guilty of too many outdoor habits, there was enough in the game to encourage me that we can fare well here. I was pleased with our resilience and control of second half. The game against the hosts tonight now becomes pivotal.’

England take on hosts France, who opened with a win over Wales in the late game, 19:30 UK time.

For results, fixtures and scorers from the competition click here.