England secure winning start to EuroHockey title defence

England secure winning start to EuroHockey title defence

19 August 2017 / 17:16

England beat Ireland 4-1 to get their EuroHockey title defence up and running, but assistant coach David Ralph says they are already looking ahead to their next game.

Laura Unsworth put England ahead after just five minutes of play, and the defending champions kept up a formidable attack from the outset, but were forced to wait until the second half for more goals.

Ellie Watton, Sophie Bray and Alex Danson were all on target to give England a comfortable Pool B victory, despite a penalty-corner score from Ireland’s Elena Tice.

Ralph, who has taken the reigns while head coach Danny Kerry recovers from a heart attack, was pleased with the victory as the side celebrated the one year anniversary of Great Britain’s Olympic gold medal win in Rio.

“We are delighted to win the first game of the tournament and pleased with how we performed against a tough opponent in Ireland,” said Ralph.

“Now the process is to look forward to the challenge of the game against Germany tomorrow.”

The EuroHockey Championships began yesterday in Amsterdam and run until August 27, with England fighting for a place in the semi-finals on August 24 against fellow  Pool B opponents Germany and Scotland.

England were victorious in the last edition of the championships, which bring together the top eight European national teams, defeating the Netherlands 3-1 on penalty flicks in London two years ago.

After a successful start to this year’s competition, the side faces Germany, who beat Scotland 4-1, on Sunday and defender Giselle Ansley agrees that game is England’s priority.

"It was a good, tough and well-fought game against Ireland,” said the Olympic gold medallist.

“It's a good start to our tournament but now we need to refocus ready for tomorrow's game against Germany."

The men’s EuroHockey Championships are also taking place, with England taking on Poland in their opening fixture at 8am on Sunday.

Sportsbeat 2017

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