Great Britain’s women rounded off their Investec London Cup campaign with a comfortable 3-0 victory in front of a spirited home crowd in Chiswick. Two first half goals from Leicester’s Hannah Macleod, who turned 28 on Saturday, set GB on their way and Reading’s Emily Maguire added a third from a penalty corner in the second half to seal the win in Great Britain’s final competitive fixture before the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Before the match, there were celebrations for Macleod's Leicester teammate Anne Panter, who made her 50th appearance in the colours of Great Britain, and for Reading's former Glasgow Western midfielder Laura Bartlett, who made her 100th international appearance, combining her 43 GB caps with 57 for Scotland. In the absence of Helen Richardson, who sat the match out with a hamstring injury, Reading goalkeeper Beth Storry captained Great Britain for the first time.
It was the Irish who started the brightest with Emma Clarke forcing the first save of the game from Storry but after her initial effort play evened out. Great Britain enjoyed success coming in off the right while Leicester’s Macleod was lively in attack. This route supplied the breakthrough in the 11th minute as Macleod slid in for the opening goal. She was in the right place at the right time for her second of the match minutes later. While Ireland finished the half the stronger side they could not find the decisive touch. The second half saw fewer chances although Great Britain enjoyed the bulk of possession. A penalty corner strike by Emily Maguire provided the solitary goal of the half although Ireland goalkeeper Pamela Smithwick was called upon to make a series of quality saves.
Afterwards, Great Britain Head Coach Danny Kerry admitted his side could have won by more: “To be frank I’m disappointed today. Our skill execution was poor and we really should have put them to the sword. Yes we’re missing a few influential players but it should have been a cricket score. I’m sure it seems strange that I spoke after the Germany game [on Thursday when GB lost 2-1] and was really pleased with how we’d played and today we’ve won and I’m disappointed. We were sloppy in our execution at the end of the first half and it just wasn’t up to the required standard of execution and concentration. If we play like that against Argentina, Australia, the Netherlands, Germany, China we’ll be punished.”
Highlighting individual athletes that he thought had played well, Kerry added: “I thought Twiggy [Georgie Twigg] drove the team on. That’s particularly good considering she’s the youngest in the squad. She was a little over exuberant at times but at least she went for it. Natalie Seymour has been outstanding this week. She did what I call putting the oil in the machine. We moved Laura Unsworth to the right and it threw her off kilter a bit.
“Susie Gilbert has done herself a lot of favours. She needs to give herserl more belief but she has had a good tournament after the huge disappointment of being told she wasn’t selected for the Olympics.”
Great Britain and Reading goalkeeper Beth Storry spoke of her pride in captaining her country, saying, “To captain GB is an incredible honour. You never think you’ll get to captain because we’ve got such a great captain in Kate [Walsh]. We’ve got incredible experience, it’s a great group of girls. I see the work they put in on the pitch. I see that work rate and I see the moments of magic we can create. We just need to make those moments longer.
“It was so good to have the support of the crowd here. It’s lovely to have people come up to you and tell you they’re supporting you this summer.”
Great Britain’s athletes will now undertake a recovery week before returning to training for the final run-in to the London 2012 Olympic Games. The squad’s centralised training programme will continue until the 16 athletes selected for the Games enter the Olympic village in the third week of July.
Ticketing Information for Sunday
With the bronze medal match (13:30) and the gold medal match (16:30) sitll to come this afternoon, tickets will be available from the ticket office at the University of Westminster Sports Ground in Chiswick priced at £25 for adults and £10 for Under 18s.