George Pinner may have reached his century of England caps but he’ll wish it came under better circumstances as Bobby Crutchley’s side closed their Hockey World League Final campaign with defeat.
Pinner – England’s joint captain since the summer – could do little to prevent the Netherlands’ Mirco Pruijser from scoring the only goal of the game in the third quarter.
Defeat saw England forced to settle for eighth in the tournament in Bhubaneshwar, India, with the Netherlands recording their only win of the campaign.
There was some consolation for England though as Pinner and David Ames reached career milestones – the latter winning his 50th international cap – while Liam Sanford was named Junior Player of the Match for the third consecutive game.
Neither side was quick to settle into the game as the rain teemed down from kick-off, but it was England who had the first chance to break the deadlock.
David Condon broke through two tackles as he raced into the Dutch circle, before finding Chris Griffiths whose effort was stopped by an onrushing Sam van der Ven.
The Dutch goalkeeper proved pivotal for his side with a remarkable performance between the sticks as England had chance after chance go begging.
Valentin Verga had an effort on goal saved by Harry Gibson before Harry Martin went close after beating three defenders, van der Ven once again on hand to deny England a goal.
The second half started just as the first had left off, with David Goodfield seeing his reverse stick effort from a penalty corner gliding the wrong side of the post.
But ten minutes later their opponents were ahead when Verga went on a mazy run through the English defence, before finding Pruijser who steered the ball past Pinner to open the scoring.
With six minutes left on the clock, England won a second penalty corner that Mark Gleghorne struck towards goal, but van der Ven kept his effort wide as the Dutch held on for victory.
Photo: England Hockey