Britain's hockey players claim gold and silver
BRITAIN clinched a hockey gold at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival in Sydney today after a thrilling 4-2 victory over Australia in the women's final, but the men were beaten 7-6 in a penatly shoot-out.
In unbearable heat, the host team was unable to maintain their undefeated status for the tournament with the tourists coming out strong and never looking back.
“It was absolutely amazing to beat Australia in the final,” said 17-year-old Sarah Page.
Within the second minute of play Hailey Brown, 19, put a goal away for Great Britain. Page did not waste any time scoring shortly after and a shell-shocked Australia trailed 0-2.
Australian Samantha Gale hit back in the 15th minute with the scores remaining unchanged until half-time.
Britain increased their lead to 4-1 by the 54th minute with 16-year-old young gun Charlotte Craddock scoring their last goal.
Gale maintained her tremendous record for the tournament scoring again for Australia with a few minutes remaining but the it was Britain’s day.
Skipper Natalie Seymour said: “It was amazing, we came out so strong in the first 10 to 15 minutes and really took it to them which is what we wanted to do.”
With the heat reaching the high thirties, officials positioned themselves around the pitch with water bottles for players to quickly re-dehydrate when necessary.
But unfazed by the sweat dripping from her face, 20-year-old Seymour beamed: “We knew we had the ability to do this we just had to come forward at the right time and luckily we did.”
“We’ve obviously had some ups and downs in this tournament and we’ve learnt a lot, but with such a young squad that is just fantastic, I’m overwhelmed and just so proud of the whole team."
The men's final was locked at 2-2 at full-time and went to a shoot-out after 15 minutes of sudden-death extra-time failed to find a winner.
Goalkeeper George Pinner made two saves for GB but they failed to capitalise and the shoot-out also went to sudden death.
GB's Hardeep Jawanda sent the fourth sudden-death stroke wide before Australian captain Glenn Simpson converted to dash British hopes.
GB had to settle for silver but coach Bobby Cructhley felt his side deserved more.
"I thought we played really well and were the better team for the vast majority of the game," he said.
"We hit the bar and the post in the first half, and there was a couple where we couldn't get the final touch.
"I think they've come a long way since they've been here and I don't think they got what they deserved in the end. Their performance stayed up there even when Australia where at their highest."
The tournament was open to Under-21s but GB selected players from 16 upwards with a view to developing them into medal contenders by London 2012.
However, Crutchley is confident some could even feature in next year's Olympics.
"Four of them are currently in the bigger senior squad and I think one or two of them will appear in Beijing," he added.