By B Shrikant
Birmingham, Aug 2 (IANS) The Indian women’s hockey team found England a tough nut to crack once again as it went down 1-3 to their old nemesis in a Pool A round-robin match at the 2022 Commonwealth Games here on Tuesday.
The Indian team, which has lost to England in the Olympic Games bronze medal match also, conceded early goals and were down 0-3 before getting a lone consolation goal in fourth quarter.
Giselle Ansley (3′), Tess Howard (40′), Hannah Martin (53′) found the back of the net for England, while, Vandana Katariya (60′) was the only scorer for India.
The defeat means India are places third in the group behind England (9 pts) and Canada (6) with points same as Canada but third on goal difference.
The English side started the game aggressively and earned back-to-back Penalty Corners in the second minute of the first quarter. Giselle Ansley converted the second Penalty Corner and helped England take the lead at 1-0 in the third minute.
India had a chance when Salima Tete made a fantastic run in the right flank, but she couldn’t find the back of the net. In the 12th minute, Salima produced a fantastic ball and Vandana Katariya tried to tap it into the goal, but the English goalkeeper Madeleine Hinch pulled off a great save. India obtained a Penalty Corner in the final minute of the first quarter, however, Gurjit Kaur couldn’t find the equaliser.
Monika took a shot in the opening minutes of the second quarter, but unfortunately the ball went over the crossbar. The Indian team made another circle penetration in the 20th minute, but the English defence unit stood tall and kept their opponents at bay.
The Indians continued to put pressure and earned a Penalty Corner 22nd minute. Deep Grace Ekka took a firm shot, but Goalkeeper Hinch made another fabulous save. In the 25th minute, Navneet Kaur helped India earn another Penalty Corner, but Gurjit couldn’t breach the English defence. The Indians kept trying to find the equalizer, but England managed to hold on to their lead at the end of the first half.
Elena Rayer made a remarkable run through the centre in the opening minutes of the third quarter, but Udita pulled off a fantastic tackle and ensured that the English team didn’t extend their lead. England rode on the momentum and made another circle penetration in the 38th minute, but the Indian defence unit fought hard and kept the ball away from their goal.
However, Sophie Hamilton produced a terrific ball and Tess Howard deflected it into the goal in the 40th minute to help England extend their lead at 2-0. India obtained a couple of Penalty Corners in the dying minutes of the third quarter, but they couldn’t find the back of the net.
Salima took a shot in the 48th minute, but goalkeeper Hinch successfully pushed the ball away from the goal. Soon after, the Indians earned a Penalty Corner, but the English defence stood tall and continued to maintain a clean sheet.
In the 53rd minute, Hannah Martin converted a Penalty Corner and helped England extend their lead even further at 3-0. In the last minute of the match, India obtained a Penalty Corner and Vandana Katariya tapped the ball into the goal to ensure that England don’t walk off the field with a clean sheet.