(Photo: © AYOF)
Australia has won gold and silver at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival men's and women's hockey tournament respectively. The men’s team defeated India in the final 2-1. Great Britain won the women’s gold, defeating the host 3-2 in the final. Both finals were decided by a golden goal.
MEN'S GOLD MEDAL MATCH
Australia – India 2-1 (1-0)
Goals - Aus Govers 3m FG, Ind Kumar 55m FG, Aus Donohoe 76m FG (golden goal)
The Australian men made their mark early in the gold medal match against India, with Kieren Govers scoring in the third minute.
After a loss to India in their first match of the AYOF on Wednesday, the Australian men had to learn from their mistakes. 'I think we needed to start stronger and so we did; we scored the first goal', said Australian captain Josh White.
India was unsuccessful in several penalty corners awarded in the first 20 minutes, and the Australian attack kept them moving around.
Australia forced an error in the 29th minute to be awarded a penalty corner, but a desperate save from India's goal keeper Mrinal Chaubey kept the Aussies from scoring.
The young Australian men had the height advantage, but the speed of the Indian players was a challenge throughout the first half.
There was a close call for Australia in the 43rd minute, but some excellent defense, and a bit of luck, kept India at bay.
Govers was a force in the Australian forward line, showing exceptional ball control and speed with several intercepts to break the Indian defense.
But Indian Pramod Kumar evened the score in the 55th minute, coming out on top with a one-on-one confrontation with the Australian goal keeper.
With a score of 1-1 at full time, the game went into two periods of extra time and it was Jason Donohoe of Australia who stepped up in the 76th minute with a goal that thrilled the crowd.
'I'm really proud to be an Australian at the moment', said Josh White, 'and more so to be with this group of guys.'
WOMEN'S GOLD MEDAL MATCH
Great Britain – Australia 3-2 (0-1)
Goals - Aus Andrews 27m PC, GB Page 68m PC, Aus Hurtz 68m FG, GB Pearce 70m PC, GB Bray 77m FG (Golden Goal)
The Aussies had a tough competitor in Great Britain for the AYOF women's hockey gold medal, and unfortunately came out second best.
A penalty corner for Great Britain in the 13th minute provided an opportunity to score, but the Australians were too quick out of the goal to concede a score.
After a win over the British team yesterday, the Australians had to step up to a greater challenge this morning, as Britain was hungrier for the ball and the gold medal.
Some strong stick work from the Aussie forwards gave them some chances near the British goal, but the opportunities slipped through their fingers.
A scramble in the 27th minute gave Australia a penalty corner, for Stephanie Andrews to secure the first goal of the match in the quest for gold.
In the 41st minute Australia missed an opportunity to score off a penalty corner and they were punished nearly punished by Great Britain in the 43rd minute but the goal was disallowed.
Australia struggled to clear the ball in strong consecutive attacks on their goal, with Britain dominating possession in the second half.
Emily Hurtz's fast and controlled break down the middle of the pitch in the 57th minute looked to be Australia's chance to steal the lead, but the Australian girls couldn't coordinate a goal.
Australia was devastated in the 67th minute with a goal from Sarah Page of Great Britain, but just seconds later Hurtz stole back the Australian lead to take the score to 2-1. 'It's been a big learning curve', said Hurtz of the tough international competition, 'we've learnt a lot about how other teams play.'
In an amazing display of skill in the final minute off a penalty corner, Great Britain brought the game once again to a draw, to take the game into extra time.
In the final 30 seconds allowed for extra time, the British well and truly devastated Australia's hopes for the gold medal, with a goal from free play. Winning goal scorer Sophie Bray said yesterday's loss taught her team a lot. 'We took what we learnt into this game and the whole team believed that we could get a result today', she said.
MEN'S BRONZE MEDAL MATCH
Great Britain – Malaysia 5-2 (3-1)
Goals - GB Bain 16m PS, GB Scanlon 19m PC, Mas Govindasamy 24m PC, GB Gregg 32m FG/ 55m FG, Mas Saari 40m PC, GB Faulkner 49m PC,
Malaysia was off to a great start in the men's bronze medal match early this morning, but their luck was to turn throughout the first half.
Impenetrable defense from Great Britain's Ben Arnold and strength on the wing gave the British an advantage, and a penalty stroke in the 16th minute gave Kenny Bain the first goal of the match. This is Bain's second AYOF, and he said 'The first time I was actually sitting in the stands, to be playing this time was absolutely phenomenal.'
A penalty corner in the 19th minute gave Great Britain a second goal to take them another step closer to an AYOF medal.
A well-executed short corner for Malaysia in the 24th minute took them to 2-1 against their British opponents.
Another for Great Britain in the 32nd minute was a hard blow for the Malaysians before half time, but thrilled the crowd packed with British supporters.
Malaysia began to close in on their competition early in the second half with a goal from Faizal Saari, but fast goals from the young British men in the 49th and 55th minutes significantly widened Britain's winning margin.
After a strong performance, co-captain Nick Catlin said 'It was really good stuff. Bit disappointed to not play our best hockey until now'.
WOMEN'S BRONZE MEDAL MATCH
India – USA 2-0 (0-0)
Goals - Ind Pampal 62m PC, Ind Tindal 68m FG
The first half saw a fairly even encounter, with the ball moving freely throughout the midfield. India slightly worked their way on top towards the end of the half and generated some genuine scoring opportunities.
However, a combination of India's inability to convert and the skill of the USA goalkeeper Alesha Widdall denied India any first half score.
USA midfielder Alexis Pappas continued to work hard for her team as she had done all tournament, but eventually India's persistence proved too strong, scoring two late goals to record victory.
Source: Hockey Australia