Surbiton girls miss out on final glory, but there is plenty to smile about

Sutton Guardian: Final fling: Sarah Haycroft in action against Australia in the Investec World Hockey League      Picture: Ady Kerry/England Hockey Final fling: Sarah Haycroft in action against Australia in the Investec World Hockey League Picture: Ady Kerry/England Hockey

Surbiton Hockey Club’s Sarah Haycroft and Georgie Twigg had to settle for silver medals at the Investec World League semi-final tournament at Chiswick, after Australia proved too strong for England in Sunday’s final, prevailing 3-0.

For Haycroft, it was her second medal of the year, after she came home from South Africa with an Investec Challenge bronze medal.

Meanwhile, Twigg added the silver medal to the Olympic bronze medal she won last year.

Proudly wearing her silver medal, Twigg said: “We weren’t great today against Australia, but yesterday against Argentina we showed what we can do.”

And indeed, the previous day, England had shown what they could do, shocking the tournament favourites and number two in the world, Argentina, 4-2 in a pulsating semi-final to secure World Cup qualification.

With several new players in their performance squad following post-Olympic retirements, England, ranked fourth, will need time to rebuild their squad on the road to Rio in 2016, but first indications are optimistic for the future.

Having beaten South Africa 4-1, and drawn with Australia, and Spain 1-1 in their pool matches, England had to battle their way past Italy in the Chiswick rain in the quarter-finals, winning 3-2.

On Saturday, underdogs England stunned Argentina to lead 3-1 early in the second half, but although Las Leonas pulled a second goal back, the victory and a place in the 2014 World Cup were both sealed 13 minutes into the second half.

In front of a packed crowd, the hosts couldn’t repeat their heroics in the final against the Hockeyroos, Australia, including former Surbiton player, Georgie Parker, dominating the match to win 3-0, as well as having two further goals ruled out following video referrals.

Twigg became the fifth England player to receive a green card in the tournament, being banished to the sin-bin for two minutes for a second half stick tackle.

In the six matches, Twigg was in the starting line-up three times, and Haycroft twice - both players coming on from the subs bench in the final.

England will join Germany, the Netherlands, Korea, New Zealand, Australia, Argentina, and China in the Investec World League final to be held in Argentina at the end of November.

Meanwhile, England’s next competition is the TriFinance EuroHockey Championships in Antwerp, Belgium, from August 17.

England will be in Pool B and will play Germany, Spain, and old rivals, Scotland.

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