Dutch run riot as GB men thrashed
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Reading's Jonty Clarke was part of the dejected squad that lost to the Netherlands on Thursday evening. Pic by Ady Kerry
Team GB 2 - 9 Netherlands
Team GB's men's hockey team had their dreams of playing in a home Olympic final ended as they were thrashed 9-2 by the Netherlands at the Riverbank Arena on Thursday evening.
Hopes were high for this side, featuring Reading's Jonty Clarke, Nick Catlin and Iain Mackay, to match the gold-medal winning team of Seoul 1988 and record Britain's first Olympic hockey title in 24 years, but they were shot down in flames by a superior and clinical Dutch side.
The Netherlands were fast out of the blocks and found themselves 2-0 up inside 15 minutes, before Ashley Jackson grabbed a goal back for the hosts from a penalty corner, to record his sixth goal of the tournament.
Holland's two goal cushion was restored moments later when Mink van der Weerden also registered his sixth goal of the tournament from a penalty corner, before Billy Bakker made it 4-1 just before the break.
Team GB dominated the early stages of the second half as they pushed to get back in the game, but they were always vulnerable on the counter attack and Bakker extended the visitors' lead.
Bakker completed his hat-trick, and goals from Teun de Noiijer, Floris Evers and Roderick Weusthof, completed the rout to make it 9-1.
Rob Moore pulled something of a consolation goal back five minutes before the end, but ultimately it made little difference to what head coach Jason Lee described as an "embarrassing result".
"We're all very embarrassed for the result and mostly the performance," said Lee. "Holland made the pitch very big for us and so we had lots of one-on-one battles early on and lost a lot of them.
"I think we were a little bit slack for a few of the goals but when it got to 4-1 our intention was to try and get back so we kept on trying to attack and that's what opened us up. We probably got reckless far too early and that's why the result went away.
"I said before we could finish first or ninth because we were willing to take risks. I think at 3-1 we had a chance, at 4-1 we still had a chance but we just let a couple of sloppy goals in because we were trying to get back into the game," he said.
"There's no other way. We could have just shut it down, kept it at 3-1 or 4-1 and it would have been a less embarrassing result, but it wouldn't have been what we said we were going to be about. Lots of goals get scored in international hockey and we didn't perform how we aimed to perform, but we did aim to win and that's why we got so exposed."
Captain Barry Middleton said: "Sorry, that wasn't really us tonight, it's hard to explain what happened. Credit to the Dutch, they played a good game. They just generally tackled, shot, ran around better than us."
"You don't have many games where a team does every aspect better than you. We were definitely not where we want to be or where we can be and that's the disappointing thing," he added.
Team GB will now face Australia on Saturday in the bronze medal match.
This article appeared in Reading Chronicle 10 Aug 12