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Loughborough University

Beijing Olympics 2008

News from Beijing

22 August 2008

World ranking boost for women with sixth place finish

Lucilla Wright came off the bench again as Great Britain women finished sixth in the 2008 Olympic hockey tournament.

Britain lost 2-0 to Australia – a side who missed out on a semi-final place by goal difference – to finish the Beijing Games three places above their world ranking in sixth position. The top-six finish means that England will play in the 2009 Champions Trophy in Australia which will be a valuable experience for their 2010 campaign in the same competition on home turf in Nottingham.

A goal in each half was enough to secure the victory for the Aussies in a stop-start game which saw a goal apiece disallowed by the video umpire.

The first penalty corner of the game fell to Australia in the 11th minute, but the brilliant Beth Storry got low quickly to prevent a conversion. It took only three more minutes for Britain to win their first set piece, but Sarah Thomas could not quite get control of the rebound from Crista Cullen’s original shot before Rachel Imison in the Australian goal forced the ball out of play.

An early ball to Alex Danson in the 22nd minute saw her break into the circle, but she was caught by a defender before she had the opportunity for a shot.

Australia scored their first half goal in the 29th minute after a free hit outside the circle was deflected by Casey Eastham forcing a save from Storry, but the ball found its way back into danger zone where a waiting Madonna Blythe picked up a deflected ball, sweeping it into the back of the net.

With 21 seconds left on the clock in the first half, Britain had the opportunity to level the score, but they were denied at a penalty corner by an Australian defence quick off the line.

Three minutes after the break, the Brits won another penalty corner, but the routine which saw the ball injected by Anne Panter and then slipped left by Cullen back to Panter at the post was kicked to safety by Imison.

Then came the first intervention of the video umpire. A 45th minute penalty corner was taken by Panter out to Clewlow at the top of the circle. Clewlow fed the ball back into the circle where it was deflected off Panter to Thomas who thumped the ball home and Britain thought they had equalised. However, after a lengthy period, the video umpire ruled that the ball went in over the legal height for a first shot on goal and it was disallowed.

Both sides saw a penalty corner come and go in the 54th and 56th minutes before the video umpire was involved for the second time of the game. In the 62nd minute, Storry got down well to deny the Hockeyroos, but the loose ball was picked up by Hope Munro who chipped the ball over Storry into the back of the net. But after another lengthy period, the goal was ruled out as it was deemed to have hit Munro’s foot before she got her shot away.

However, she was to get onto the scoresheet with two minutes left on the clock after Britain had taken the decision to play the last three minutes without a goalkeeper with Cullen adopting a blue shirt and playing as kicking back in an attempt to throw everything left at the Aussies. Cullen was called upon quickly as she swung her stick at a free hit taken outside the circle to clear the ball off the line, but it was picked up by Casey Eastham who played it to Munro who took full advantage of the open goal to make it 2-0. Storry returned to the pitch for the last minute and a half.

Head Coach Danny Kerry, a Loughborough graduate said;

“I am pleased with the way we tried to go about our game, although I felt we didn’t penetrate the circle enough which Australia did very well.”

Loughborough University - Beijing 2008

Beijing facts

There are 55 Loughborough athletes in action at the Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Did you know?

Former Olympic Champion Sebastian Coe is a Loughborough graduate.

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