3 Jul 2015
GB men's hockey follow in women's footsteps
On the hottest day in Antwerp since 1954 where temperatures reached 38 degrees, the Great Britain men’s hockey team looked to book their spot at Rio 2016. Having narrowly missed out on facing World Number 1 Australia in the quarter finals of the Hockey World League after beating Malaysia 3-1 in their pool matches, they had to pull out a win against Pakistan to have a chance of making it to Rio 2016.
Chris Griffiths, Henry Weir, Mark Gleghorne, David Condon and GB captain Barry Middleton were our five Loughborough graduates lining up the Great Britain team.
In an eventful opening quarter, our most recent Loughborough graduate, Chris Griffiths, scored an incredible reverse hit at what seemed an impossible angle, taking Great Britain into the lead. By the end of first quarter Great Britain had scored again making it 2-0.
Pakistan fought back and in the final quarter managed to steal a goal making it 2-1, but Great Britain held their own and with strong performances by all five Loughborough graduates, they took the win.
That meant that India v Malaysia was the only thing standing in the way of the Great Britain men qualifying for Rio. After a tantalising wait, India managed to beat the Malaysians 3-2, meaning Great Britain were off to Rio due to India having already gained Olympic qualification through the Asian Games.
Speaking from Antwerp, Great Britain Head Coach Bobby Crutchley said:
“It was job done really. I’m pleased we got through. There were a lot of key performances in the team and we showed we can work hard when the games get tight.
“We started well and dominated early but the conditions meant we couldn’t keep up the intensity and didn’t take the game away from them which made it tight. Having said that they didn’t create a lot of chances and I felt we were the better side. Without doubt the conditions played a part, but even in the second half we created the better chances. A good start was important but we did well even though they came back strongly."
Just like the women, the men’s team have booked their Olympic spot, but the individual names who’ll be on the plane to Rio are yet to be decided. Good luck to Barry Middleton, Chris Griffiths, David Condon, Henry Weir and Mark Gleghorne, as well as current students Ian Sloan and Harry Gibson who’re all part of the centralised GB programme and are all vying for an Olympic berth.