Survival secured for England despite Scotland loss

England womens indoor team in their prematch huddle

England 3 (3)
Hannah Martin 6 (FG)
Grace Balsdon 9 (PC)
Sarah Haycroft 15 (FG)

Scotland 5 (3)
Charlotte Watson 2, 5 (FG, PC)
Katie Robertson 18 (FG)
Jennifer Eadie 28 (PC)
Vikki Bunce 40 (FG)

England’s EuroHockey Indoor Championships II came to a disappointing end on Sunday morning with a defeat in their final game to old foes Scotland.

With the bottom two in Pool D due to be relegated form this level, there was plenty to play for with England almost safe and Scotland looking over their shoulders at Croatia and Wales below them. Ultimately both sides secured their status in this division thanks to a 5-3 win for Scotland but it was a disappointing end to a competition in which England had improved with every game.

The Tartan Hearts came out of the blocks quickly and Charlotte Watson helped herself to two early goals in the first five minutes to leave Andy Halliday’s side reeling at 2-0 down.

Hannah Martin hauled one back in the sixth minute, showing once again her promise at this level. In the ninth minute Grace Balsdon fired home a trademark penalty corner, taking her tally to six goals and third place in the tournament top scorer charts.

England nudged themselves in front before the break with an open play goal from Sarah Haycroft but despite some good passages of play Katie Robinson’s goal ensured the game was well poised going into the second half with the scores level at 3-3.

Scotland, now fighting for their survival threw everything at England in the second period. Chances came and went at both ends before in the 28th minute Jennifer Eadie kept her cool to put Scotland ahead from a penalty corner. With England pushing for an equaliser they opted to play with no goalkeeper, hoping the extra outfielder would pay off. As is often the case, the gamble backfired and with no goalkeeper to beat Vikki Bunce secured the points for Scotland with a 40th minute goal to make it 5-3 and preserve her side’s place in the second tier of European indoor hockey, alongside England.

Head Coach Andy Halliday could not hide his disappointment at the final result, though he had some positive words, too:

‘Very disappointed with the ultimate result in a tight game vs. Scotland. We showed naivety in areas where progress had been made yesterday. Decision making under pressure and executing core skills were poor this morning. I felt we controlled much of the game, pressed well, but were unable to convert chances. As with the men last week, I am sure the pressure of the weekend will be beneficial for outdoor development. Indoor provides an exposing environment where poor chances and technique are magnified by the outcome. I have been very pleased with the attitude and growth mindset of the group. It was just a real shame that we couldn’t maintain the momentum of yesterday into our performance this morning’.

For all the results, scorers and standings, click here.