In Great Britain’s first match since selecting their training squad for the 2008 Olympic Games, Head Coach Danny Kerry awarded five new GB caps. Susie Gilbert, Jo Ellis (Bowdon Hightown), Hayley Brown, Charlotte Craddock and Laura Bartlett all recorded their first ever appearance for Great Britain. On a tropical evening, in front of a capacity crowd at the new Salta Hockey facility in Argentina, the young GB squad looked creative and energetic.
Argentina were first to seize the initiative with a penalty corner in the first minute, but the drag flick was well saved by goalkeeper Abi Walker. GB reacted quickly and soon won their first penalty corner in the 8th minute which was well saved on the line. A further two corners just four minutes later resulted in GB’s first goal with a well taken drag flick from Crista Cullen.
Buoyed on by the home crowd, Argentina came back strongly and another well saved penalty corner by Walker denied the home team. Just a minute later they had a goal disallowed when the umpire blew the whistle for a foul prior to them scoring.
The second half saw a bright start for the visitors and a great run from Jennie Bimson saw her cross the ball to Sarah Thomas whose reverse shot was well saved by the keeper. Captain Kate Walsh followed this with an excellent move forward and her cross found Jo Ellis (Ipswich HC) who fired her shot through the keepers legs to take it to 2 - 0 in the 39th. Just three minutes later, 17 year old debutante Craddock was on the end of a cross from Bimson and she coolly reverse struck for her first senior Great Britain goal.
The Argentineans fought back well and the game was exciting end to end action with corners and chances for both teams. The British defence held firm including a great line clearance from Clewlow in the 60th minute and despite losing Munn in the 62nd to a yellow card for what the umpire indicated was a stick tackle, the game ended 3-0 to Great Britain in what was a great start to this test series.
Head Coach Danny Kerry said “It was a strong team performance and we have stirred up a hornets nest for the next four matches. We had two clear objectives for this game and the team delivered on both”.
Gilbert and Craddock both received their first GB cap. This was also their first senior international cap as neither player has yet played for the England senior team. Both players were part of the GB Youth Gold medal winning squad at this year’s Youth Olympic Festival in Australia.
Argentina – Great Britain 0-3 (0-1)
0-1 Crista Cullen 14 (PC), 0-2 Jo C Ellis 39 (F), 0-3 Charlotte Craddock 42 (F).
Source: Great Britain Hockey ltd.
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