London Prepares, Hockey Test Event: Great Britain 2-1 India. (3rd and 4th place play off.)

Goals from James Tindall and Rob Moore gave Great Britain a win and the third place in this competition but it was far from a Sunday walk in the park.

The hosts started brightly and as early as 2 minutes Nick Catlin fed James Tindall down the right and his cross was deflected goal wards by Ashley Jackson drawing a fine save out of Bharat Kumar Chetri.

Tindall looked like he was relishing the physical battle already and on 3 minutes he and Harry Martin combined to force the first penalty corner. Richard Smith flicked for goal and was unlucky to see his effort cannon off the post and out to safety.

India were by no means overrun in the opening exchanges and went close through SV Sunil whose pace on the counter and close control was to be a thorn in the Great Britain side all afternoon.

On 15 minutes it was Sunil combining with Danish Mujtaba on the break which caused the home side problems. But for some desperate last-ditch defending from Ian Lewers and Dan Fox they would have been through with just James Fair to beat.

India forced their first penalty corner about half way through the first period. VR Raghunath flicked low for goal but was kept out by a good save from Fair, whilst Shivendra Singh blazed the rebound over the top.

On 23 minutes, India had more luck as VR Raghunath did get the better of Fair this time, sending a low flick to almost the same spot as the previous, this time finding the net to give his side the lead.

The hosts reacted immediately and Richard Alexander’s excellent reverse stick cross found Glenn Kirkham, whose shot on the turn was well saved by Bharat Kumar Chetri.

James Tindall sent a reverse stick wide of the far post and then bullied his way through to force another save out of the goalkeeper. With a minute of the half left Great Britain won a penalty corner. This time they slipped it to Tindall who was not to be denied again. His drag flick beat the goalkeeper who got a big hand on the shot but couldn’t keep it out.

The second half started at a frantic pace as Tushar Khandker volleyed goal wards but was denied by Fair. At the other end Harry Martin slid in spectacularly but couldn’t quite reach Rob Moore’s cross, and Nick Catlin went close with a shot on his reverse which fizzed wide.

Rob Moore and Harry Martin were starting to look more and more threatening and both were unlucky not to find the net.

It was by no means all Great Britain, as in the first half Sunil was looking dangerous on the counter using his pace and skills to get in behind the home defence. Had his final ball been more accurate the Indians may have had some more joy.

Sandeep Singh saw his penalty corner kept out by James Fair, who was once again reminding the selectors of his credentials for this summer’s games.

On 23 minutes Jackson’s cross was not dealt with effectively by the goalkeeper. Dan Fox was able to get another cross in which was expertly diverted home by Rob Moore.

Sunil and Shivendra Singh were doing their utmost to drag India back into the contest but were finding Richard Smith in particular harder to pass than a PhD in Physics.

With three minutes left Nick Catlin could have sealed it, latching onto an aerial pass he was through with just the keeper to beat, but his low shot was smothered by Bharat Kumar Chetri.

With time running out India looked to have run out of steam and were denied their first positive result of the tournament.

Great Britain will have to content themselves with 3rd, but will know that many have played themselves into the squad and many are starting to hit form in time for this summer’s tournament

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