Dramatic opening clash for England U16 Boys

England U16 Boys, July 2017

England Under-16 Boys (1) 2
Ollie Harper 18 (PC)
Matthew Bellin 60 (FG)

Belgium Under-16 Boys (1) 3
Oscar Berton 10, 58 (FG, FG)
Jeremy Wilbers 33 (PC)

A battling performance from England Under-16 Boys wasn’t quite enough to make a winning start to the Six Nations Tournament at the Nottingham Hockey Centre on Monday.

Level at 1-1 at half time, England found themselves behind and as the clock ticked over they went to a kicking back, pulling one goal back in the dying seconds to set up a thrilling finale.

But they couldn’t get an equaliser, and afterwards Head Coach Mark Bateman said: “I’m happy with the competitive nature of the game, we’ve made good progress from the matches we played against Belgium last week.

“But we will have to take more of our set piece opportunities in the future to convert our good possession into better outcomes.”

Belgium opened the scoring through Oscar Berton who found the net from open play after just ten minutes, but early in the second quarter England pulled back level through Ollie Harper from an 18th minute penalty corner.

The flick was taken by Alex Pendle but it came off the post, and Harper pounced on the loose ball to score.

Belgium hit back with Jeremy Wilbers scoring from a 33rd minute penalty corner.

With two minutes left Berton scored again for Belgium, and with the end looming England took their goalkeeper off and went in search of late goals.

In the final minute they halved the deficit with Matthew Bellin scoring after a great run down the left from Louis Wrenn, but they ran out of time to get an equaliser.

England Under-16 Boys are next in action on Tuesday afternoon, when they will be aiming to bounce back against Spain.