England Grand Masters v Wales
on Sunday 27th
July 2008 at Oxford Hawks
over 60’s 5 Wales 0
was an important game in the build up to Hong Kong
and with the exception of John French, the whole squad was available. The match
was played on one of the few hot days this summer and therefore gave some
indication of what the conditions will be like in HK.
The game was very much one of two halves. In the first half
had most of the possession but had difficulty in creating good chances, and
those that were created were not taken, including a penalty stroke. Wales played defensively with great spirit but
apart from one breakaway opportunity which Kimber, in goal, dealt with, the England defence
was not troubled. The score at half-time was therefore 0-0.
As was pointed out by the coach, Andy Barnes, England needed
to be more controlled in the second half, with the emphasis on possession,
movement off the ball, transfer of the ball around the pitch and raising of
individual skill levels on what was a slightly bumpy pitch.
The second half saw a transformation.
took control against a tiring Welsh team. The linkage between defence, midfield
and attack showed a marked improvement and possession was maintained even when
direct routes to goal were blocked. The result was numerous goal scoring
opportunities and short corners. The first goal was a typical Stowell
deflection, followed by further goals from Hutchings, Wood, Surridge and Ballard
– his first for England.
The final result was a 5-0 win for England. Indeed if a higher
proportion of chances had been taken the scoreline could have been more
On the downside England cannot afford to wait until
the second half before starting to play to its potential. Also the short corner
drill needs to be more clinical. There are two more games before HK to put this
There were however also many positives. The defence is very
sound, the midfield is mobile with individuals comfortably switching positions
and the teamwork in attack is improving. Also the team showed its ability to
learn from the errors in the first half and to use its fitness to advantage.
Many thanks must go to Oxford Hawks for hosting this
International and for the lunch provided after the game.
Colin Kimber, Barry Mills, Peter Crayford, German Singh, Terry Howlett, Neil
Major, Norman Ballard, Ray Jeff, Brian Perryman, John Maylam, Greg Hutchings,
Mike Surridge, Lloyd Wood, Stephen Stowell (Capt), Imtiaz Mahmood-Sheikh.