Grand Masters Hockey World Cup- Hong Kong


Day 1 Friday 12th September

England Grand Masters  5 - Italy Grand Masters  0
England opened their World Cup campaign with a comfortable 5 – 0 victory against Italy. Constant pressure against a packed and sometimes robust Italian defence resulted in an opening goal from Greg Hutchings, a spectacular shot into the top right hand corner, a second from Stephen Stowell following a well worked short corner move and a third from Ray Jeff deflecting a John French short corner strike. The Italian goalkeeper was as usual in excellent form, pulling off some splendid saves and although three other goals were disallowed, further goals were added by Greg Hutchings and John French. All in all a solid workmanlike performance adapting well to the heat and the constant substitutes required as a result.

Day 2 Saturday 13th September

England GM 10 – Holland GM  0
In their second game England GM easily beat a very disappointing Dutch team which bore no resemblance to the side in Barcelona. England kept their concentration throughout and good use was made of continual substitutions in the hot conditions. The defence was untroubled throughout, supporting a dominant England midfield. Unfortunately in the two games so far the defence have had little practice given the harder games to come. In particular Kimber in goal has been a spectator. Goals came on a regular basis which will have given the forwards confidence. Goal scorers : Wood 4; Stowell 3 (1 penalty flick); Imtiaz 2 (1 penalty flick); French 1

Day 4 Monday 15th September

England 11 – Japan 0

Although not at their fluent best, England had a comfortable win against a gallant and hard working Japan side who never gave up.   Good movement off the ball ensured plenty of goal scoring opportunities, many of which resulted in splendid saves by the Japanese goalkeeper.   Sensible use of substitutes ensured everyone in the squad had a good workout, playing to the team pattern, while enabling everyone to remain fresh for the important “Ashes” match against Australia the next day which would count in the league table for the final stages, for which both England and Australia had qualified.   For the record, the goal scorers were, Stephen Stowell (5), Greg Hutchings (2), Lloyd Wood, Neil Major, John French and Mike Surridge

Day 5  Tuesday 16th September

England GM 5 – Australia 1

“Ashes” retained comprehensively.   From the start England took control and after a few minutes a pass from J French to Perryman led to a shot and then a short corner, from which England scored through a Stowell deflection.   By now England was in control with the defence giving no opportunities for the Australian forwards.   A further short corner was well struck by Mills and England was 2 -0 ahead.   Shortly afterwards, man of the match, Surridge, scored with an outrageous scoop from the right of the circle.   The fourth goal in the first quarter of the second half was superb.   Mills to Major, long pass to Surridge on opposition 25, who passed to Imtiaz who scored superbly at the far post.   Australia pulled a goal back through a deflection as a result of a bouncing ball being missed by 2 defenders.

The fifth England goal was another superb team effort ending in Surridge having the choice of four English players to make the final pass to – in fact it was the Captain, Stowell, who received the pass and scored with a flick to the top of the net.   This was a good performance by England on a slightly bumpy pitch.   Andy Barnes ensured that full use was made of having a strong squad and thus the ability to keep substituting and ensuring that the intensity was maintained throughout.  England have, therefore, won their group and carried this result against Australia through to the final group.   The next game is against Germany or Hong Kong and a win will ensure that England is in the final.

Day 7  Thursday 17th September

England GM  4  Hong Kong  0

England produced a workmanlike performance against a dogged Hong Kong whose defensive and hardworking display, at times proved frustrating for the England attack. There was an inclination to force the play rather than being patient and retaining possession so as to work the opportunity. Despite this England created plenty of chances and Greg Hutchings and Stephen Stowell from two of the penalty corners earned as a result.
England’s passing improved in the third quarter and the best goal came when John French at centre half linked with Neil Major on the right who passed to Stephen Stowell on the byline who squared the ball across for Brian Perryman to score at the far post. The scoring was completed by a good firm shot from Lloyd Wood following a short corner slip move. Other clear-cut opportunities to score were not taken but the score line was probably a fair reflection of the game.

Day 8  Friday 18th September

England GM 0  Germany 1

This was somewhat of a cat and mouse match in which both sides tended to cancel each other out. Germany who needed to win 2 - -0 in order to qualify for the final, in place of Australia, had clearly devised specific man to man marking tactics in order to disrupt and negate England’s passing and movement pattern of play. Despite this England still created enough chances to have won the game while restricting Germany to few attacking opportunities. In the last quarter Germany attached in greater numbers and following a short corner melee scored a rather scrambled goal. England’s resolute defence held out forth the last 5 minutes thanks to a brilliant goal line clearance by Neil Major covering behind the keeper.

Day 10  Sunday 20th September

Grand Master’s World Cup Final

England GM 4  Australia  1

The headline in the South China Morning Post the next day read “Hutchings at the double as England triumph”.
This was as comfortable a victory as our match against the same opponents in the group stage of the tournament. The whole squad executed to the full the game plan and strategy devised by coach Andy Barnes as a result of him having watched Australia on various occasions during the competition. The right side attacking pattern of the Australians was denied to them and England’s superior skill and fitness overran the midfield. England’s short corner routine worked smoothly, the first goal being scored by Mike Surridge deflecting a Barry Mills strike. The second goal was scored by Greg Hutchings with a firm shot from the edge of the circle, having worked his opportunity with a trade mark dribble and dummy, - a fine solo effort.
England’s slick short corner routine provided the third goal, thanks to an unstoppable strike by Barry Mills. Australia were forced at 3-0 down to throw everything into attack and following a short corner save by Colin Kimber England broke away and following good inter-passing, man of the match Greg Hutchings put the result beyond doubt at 4 – 0 to England.
Australia scored a very late consolation goal following a short corner awarded seconds prior to the hooter sounding for the end of the match.
This was a fitting end to the tournament in which England were acknowledged by all the other sides not only to have played the best hockey but also to have been the fittest and best prepared squad in all other aspects with particular reference to adapting to the heat and humidity. England’s triumph in winning the World Cup was fully deserved being the culmination of months of hard work, preparation and dedication by the entire squad and coach Andy Barnes.