England’s golden girls see off Ireland; Six of the best for Belgium; Stapenhorst inspires Germany

Posted On 19th August 2017

Day two of the women’s EuroHockey Nations Championships started with a fine German 4-1 win over Scotland before Belgium landed a 6-0 win over the Czech Republic; England showed some golden touches to defeat Ireland

Rabo EuroHockey Championships,
Pool B: England – Ireland 4-1 (1-0)

England produced a composed performance to see off Ireland 4-1, putting them equal top of Pool B as they matched Germany’s earlier win over Scotland.

The victory was in contrast to the recent World League meeting between the sides that ended 3-2, something which Sophie Bray said her side learned from.

“We didn’t want to let them back in once we went ahead,” she said. “We very much had a mentality that the next goal was ours and that helped us to push on.

“We were dangerous on the break, won a lot of penalty corners so there’s definitely a lot for us to take into tomorrow. There’s still things we need to work on and so we have a good 24 hours to prepare for Germany.”

They raced out of the blocks and took the lead when Laura Unsworth’s cross, from an incisive pass from Susannah Townsend, took a nasty deflection off the top of Shirley McCay’s cross which deceived Grace O’Flanagan at the near post.

After that, the goalkeeper made some world class saves, the pick of them from Alex Danson’s rasping drive after a Hannah Matthews clearance went straight to her at the top of the circle.

England were on top but were not able to capitalise further and Ireland were well in it. In return, Roisin Upton drew the best of Maddie Hinch with a corner drag-flick while Deirdre Duke’s vicious cross just eluded the dive of Katie Mullan.

After the break, Mullan battled her way through for another chance but her volley flashed well wide. England moved two clear when Ellie Watton nudged in a clever corner move at the left post from Elena Rayer’s disguised shot.

Ireland, though, continued to create and got a lifeline when Lena Tice’s sweep – which looked more like it was destined for a deflector – found its way in at the right post.

But, within a minute, England restored their two-goal gap as Lily Owsley drifted in-field from the right sideline and angled a diagonal pass in behind the Irish defence. Sophie Bray applied the finish at close quarters for 3-1.

Tice saved one off the line, employing her cricket skills to good effect – she previously played the sport at senior international level, making her debut at the age of just 13.

But Danson dug out a fourth goal with five minutes to go when she picked the ball off O’Flanagan’s pads and flicked in, closing out a 4-1 result.

England – Ireland
4’ Laura Unsworth 1-0
37’ Ellie Watton 2-0
42’ Lena Tice 2-1
43’ Sophie Bray 3-1
55’ Alex Danson 4-1

Umpires: M Meister (GER), V Bagdanskiene (LTU)

Pool B: Germany – Scotland (2-0)

Charlotte Stapenhorst inspired Germany to a powerful opening win in Pool B as they proved too good for Scotland with a 4-1 success.

“It was a really good performance and start to the tournament,” she said afterwards. “It was great to score some goals, too, because normally it’s hard for us early on!”

It took just 26 seconds to open the scoring. Charlotte Stapenhorst burst down the right baseline and popped a pass to Marie Mävers. Her shot was blocked but the ball fell back to Stapenhorst who innovated, flicking the ball up through his legs and into the goal.

They went 2-0 ahead in the 12th minute courtesy of a powerful Pia Grambusch from their second penalty corner, beating the post defender for pace.

Scotland, for their part, threatened regularly with Sarah Robertson driving their attacks. She volleyed just over from a penalty corner and also had a drive at goal tipped away. Anne Schröder almost made it three but her goal-bound shot got a superb defensive touch from Becky Ward to tip it away from goal.

The third quarter swung from end to end with both countries finding space; Mävers and Stapenhorst fired shots in on Amy Gibson who dealt with them well while Robertson miscued a great chance.

Stapenhorst’s drag-flick ricocheted off the post early in the fourth quarter while Gibson had to be alert to smother a series of further German chances as time wore on.

Teresa Martina Pelegrina slammed in the third goal with eight minutes to go with a beautiful backhand shot. Stapenhorst finished off the fourth goal, a sublime interchange between Selin Oruz and Cecile Pieper on the right edge of the circle with the latter flicking the ball to the back post for a tap in.

Scotland got one back with a couple of minutes to go from a smartly worked Fiona Burnet corner goal.

Next up for Germany is England who Stapenhorst knows well having gone to school in England for a couple of years and played with the Beeston club, coming across the likes of Shona McCallin, Hollie Webb and Sophie Bray.

“Tomorrow we will have to defend a bit better. It’s definitely the toughest group game and will be at the top of the group probably; it’s going to be a good game.

As for the tournament itself, she watched the opening Dutch game and was impressed by the setup.

“It’s just amazing; they just love their hockey in Holland and it showed in the stands; we really love to play here.”

Germany 4 Scotland 1
1’ Charlotte Stapenhorst 1-0
13’ Pia Grambush 2-0
52’ Teresa Martin Pelegrina 3-0
55’ Charlotte Stapenhorst 4-0
58’ Fiona Burnet 4-1

Umpires: A Keogh (IRL), C Druijts (NED)

Pool A: Belgium 6 Czech Republic 0 (2-0)

Belgium’s women showed a clean set of heels to the Czech Republic as they ran up the goals, though they will be concerned at a high volume of penalty corner concessions ahead of their remaining matches.

Inside 90 seconds, Belgium had already made two major statements of intent before they took the lead from a corner, Louise Versavel’s push from the top deflecting in off a defender.

For the second goal, it’s genesis came from a Czech corner. Anouk Raes and Stephanie van den Borre combined to clear the danger, setting Versavel clear down the right wing. With a three-on-one opening, she slipped the ball to Barbara Nelen who, in turn, laid off to Jill Boon on the left of the circle unmarked.

Her centre was aimed for Nelen but a Czech defender got there first, touching into her own goal.

The Czechs were dangerous throughout with long balls causing consternation. Klara Hanzlova was set free, only to be denied by Aisling d’Hooghe’s diving block while Adela Lehovcova’s flick was also parried away. Indeed, the Red Panthers defended four first half corners to stay out of range at the break.

But the Belgians always had the cutting edge and went 3-0 up a minute into the second half, Versavel finishing off from Alix Gerniers cross. The Czechs continued to create chances, winning a fifth and sixth corner while Hanzlova was again denied by d’Hooghe.

Stephanie van den Borre’s stroke, though, added to the Czech pain early in the final quarter. Anne-Sophie Weyns tapped in a fifth with 12 minutes to go.

Michelle Struijk then gleefully scored the sixth goal with a few minutes to go, netting in her first top level tournament game.

“I really enjoyed the atmosphere. It was nice to start against a lower-ranked team so the focus was on our own game and scoring a lot of goals,” she said.

Belgium 6 Czech Republic 0

4 ‘Louise Versavel 1-0
13’ Jill Boon 2-0
31 ‘Louise Versavel 3-0
46’ Stephanie van den Borre 4-0
48 ‘Anne-Sophie Weyns 5-0
58’ Michelle Struijk 6-0

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