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20 January 2009 - PR 09/07

Loughborough hockey players part of medal winning squads Down Under

Four Loughborough students have helped Britain to hockey gold against hosts Australia at the 2009 Australian Youth Olympic Festival.

Goalkeeper Maddie Hinch, defender Laura Unsworth and forwards Nicky White and Katie Long all featured to ensure Britain’s women won their second consecutive hockey gold at the multi sports event.

In the men’s tournament students Chris Gregg, Simon Faulkner and Martin Scanlon scored four of Britain’s five goals to seal bronze ahead of Malaysia in the medal playoff.

A last-minute equaliser in the women’s final forced the game into extra time after the teams had traded goals two minutes earlier. Birmingham’s Sophie Bray then netted the golden goal to condemn their opposition to the silver medal, in a replay of the 2007 final.

Both teams were distinctly more committed than in Saturday’s final pool match and there were early chances at either end. During the first half, the game struggled for flow and despite penalty corners at both ends the score remained 0-0 until Australia broke the deadlock in the 27th minute through a strike from a penalty corner.

GB were renewed in the second half and dominated possession for the duration. The intensity through the forward line was supported by a strong platform provided by the defence and the Brits were in total control for long periods. The drama was saved for a frantic last two minutes though.

First, a goal from Sarah Page drew the teams level at 1-1 only for Australia to immediately score on the break to go 2-1 up. With 60 seconds left, Harriet Pearce took advantage of the last possible chance when she scored via an Australian deflection to make the score 2-2.

In golden goal extra time, Britain was both mentally and physically superior and overwhelmed the Australian defence. A penalty corner three minutes into extra time was well saved but on 76 minutes, Bray became GB’s hero scoring a golden goal after good work on the left from Jenny Hall.

Head Coach Craig Parnham was delighted with the performance.

“In the second half we fought hard, played our game really well and dominated the Australian side,” he said. “The team can take real credit from the fact that they got back into this game and their teamwork and commitment was rewarded with the best result – a gold medal.”

The men came out on top of their bronze medal playoff, improving on their 4-4 draw in the group stages to sink Malaysia 5-2.

A brace from Loughborough’s Chris Gregg together with goals from Martin Scanlon, Simon Faulkner and Scotland’s Kenny Bain secured the medal for the Brits.

An 8am start greeted both squads and it was the Malaysians who threatened early on with two penalty corners which goalkeeper Ian Scanlon dealt with well. On 16 minutes, GB were awarded a penalty stroke for an infringement in the circle which Bain duly dispatched to put the Brits 1-0 up.

They doubled their lead on 19 minutes when Scanlon was on hand to convert a penalty corner rebound as he shot past keeper Mohammed Hairi Abdul Rahman. However, Malaysia then experienced a period of sustained pressure which resulted in Kavin Kartick Govindasamy scoring from a penalty corner drag flick. Undeterred, GB rallied before half time with Gregg extending the lead to 3-1 at the interval.

The second half started with continued periods of Malaysian pressure which were rewarded when Faizal Saari converted another penalty corner to make the score 3-2. However, when Faulkner made it 4-2 from a penalty corner strike on 49 minutes, the tide slowly turned towards GB. It was Gregg who added his second when he unleashed a sublime reverse shot from the right hand corner of the circle on 55 minutes to make the score 5-2 and effectively end the game as a contest. By the final whistle, GB had played Malaysia to a stand-still and thoroughly deserved their victory.

Post match, head coach Bobby Crutchley was delighted with the result and the bronze medal for his squad.

“We really fought today and stuck with our game plan,” he said. “Our ball retention improved, and so did our ability to move the opposition around and to really wear the Malaysians down.

“Ultimately, we deserved to get something from today’s match; I feel a bronze medal is an excellent reward for the hard work the squad has put in and for the improvement they have shown not only since the start of the tournament, but also since coming together last October.

“A special mention should also go to our two travelling reserves Gavin Byers and Tom Millington [Loughborough] who have been exemplary throughout the event”.

Students David Beckett, Nick Catlin, David Condon, Marc Edwards and Henry Weir also featured in the men’s bronze medal match, while Lauren Turner was on the bench for the women’s final, having played the first two matches of the tournament. Overall, Loughborough provided a staggering 14 players to the 32-strong squad.

–Ends–

For all media enquiries contact:

Amanda Overend
Sports PR Officer
Loughborough University
T: 01509 228686
E: A.J.Overend@lboro.ac.uk

Notes for editors:

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry and unrivalled sporting achievement.

It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top fifteen of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. In the 2008 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top five universities in the UK, with 22 out of 30 of its subject areas being ranked in the top ten for overall satisfaction. It was named winner of the 2006 and 2007 Times Higher award for the UK’s Best Student Experience and winner of the 2007 award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes – an achievement bettered by no other institution.

It is a member of the esteemed 1994 Group – a set of internationally recognised, research-intensive universities – and has a reputation for the relevance of its work. Its degree programmes are highly regarded by professional institutions and businesses, and its graduates are consistently targeted by the UK’s top recruiters.

Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports..

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