21:08:2015, London: The Queen Elisabeth Olympic Park once again ran out with hockey with all the colour and noise of the 2012 Olympics as the Unibet EuroHockey Championships got underway today.
NED v ESP 2-0 (2-0)
ENG v RUS 10-1 (6-1)
Netherlands and England opened their Men’s Unibet EuroHockey accounts with wins over Spain and Russia respectively. While the Netherlands put in a workmanlike, solid performance, England by contrast were in sparkling form and clearly in no mood to take any prisoners.
Captain of the Netherlands, Robert van der Horst praised his team for their consistency, adding that in the past the Dutch have been guilty of chasing big wins, where as now they were content to settle for three points. Billy Bakker, who opened the scoring for the Dutch said: “It was an ideal start to the tournament, but we still have some progress to make. Spain are tough competitors and play good hockey, and with that it was difficult to play a high tempo for 60 minutes. We’ve trained a lot on the defence this summer. We have been working to concede less goals, and we achieved that today.”
The Russian coach will be looking at his defence after he saw his team demolished by England in a 10-1 game. Captain Nikolay Yankun said first match nerves had played a part in his team’s demise, but added that the team had learnt a lot.
England coach Bobby Crutchley, by contrast, was delighted with his team’s performance and the team will go into their encounter with the Netherlands in a confident mood.
David Condon scored the first hat-trick of the event, hitting three field goals in the first half, while Sam Ward showed his pace and versatility and speed to set up a number of scoring opportunities and being rewarded with a goal of his own.
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Photograph: David Condon scores a hatrick in the first half. (EHF/Frank Uijlenbroek)