• England National Teams

England secure EuroHockey spot with Slovakia victory

England 11

Howard 4' PC, Peel 14' FG, Owsley 19' PC, Hamilton 20' FG, 49 FG', Martin 23' PC, 56' FG, Rayer 35' PC, Balsdon 36' PC, Crackles 40' FG, Pearne-Webb 58' PC

Slovakia 0

England emphatically secured qualification for next year’s EuroHockey Championship with a 11-0 win over Slovakia at Durham University. 

A draw would have been enough but nine different goalscorers netted five in the first half and six in the second for a thumping victory. 

It was a perfect end to a golden summer for the Commonwealth champions, who took the eighth and final place at the 2023 showpiece in Monchengladbach. 

The hosts poured forward from the first whistle with Lily Owsley firing across the face of goal and Howard narrowly unable to apply the finishing touch.

The forward grabbed her third goal of the tournament moments later when Anna Toman’s penalty corner proved too hot to handle and she poked home the loose ball. 

England had a host of chances but were met by goalkeeping brilliance from Daniela Sutovska, who denied Grace Balsdon’s drag flick and then Ellie Rayer at the far post. 

Sutovska wasn’t shy to come off her line and smother attacks but could do nothing about England’s second, as Hannah Martin pulled back for Flora Peel to double the lead.

England took control in the second quarter with three goals inside four minutes.

Owsley finished off a perfect training-ground corner routine for a third and within a minute Sophie Hamilton unleashed a powerful strike to further extend the lead.

England cemented their dominance with a superbly-taken fifth as Martin laid her stick low and deflected Toman’s penalty corner past Sutovska.

Slovakia conceded a penalty stroke when Barbora Pucherova brought down Holly Hunt but Grace Balsdon struck the right-hand post with her effort from the spot.

The same attacking purpose that characterised the first half was present from the start of the second and Rayer stabbed in the rebound to continue the scoring.

Balsdon wasn’t to be denied as within a minute she ripped a drag flick into the net and Crackles soon made it eight with an emphatic finish after great work from Rayer.

England continued to chase goals in the final quarter as Hamilton added her second on 49 minutes.

Skipper Hollie Pearne-Webb got in on the act as she crashed home a penalty corner with four minutes to play, a somewhat fitting end to an unforgettable summer of hockey. 

Wales finished second in the EuroHockey Championship Qualifier A standings with Slovakia third and Croatia fourth. 

England join hosts Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Belgium, Italy, Ireland and Scotland at next year's event. 

England: Heesh (GK), Toman, Martin, Rayer, Howard, Ansley, Pearne-Webb (C), Crackles, McCallin, Owsley, Peel

Subs: Hinch (GK), Unsworth, Hunt, Petter, Hamilton, Balsdon, Malzer