Investec London Cup, Men: Day Two Round-Up.

Another high scoring win for the hosts, whilst there was late drama in the Ireland vs. Scotland game. All the details of day two of the Men’s Investec London Cup are here:

Ireland 1-1 Scotland.
Tim Cockram’s equaliser 30 seconds from time rescued a point for Ireland in an absorbing encounter with Scotland who had led from the 14th minute through Kenny Bain’s splendid solo effort. Ireland dominated the possession and territory but Scotland, and in particular goalkeeper Jamie Cachia, produced a superb rear-guard action to frustrate their rivals almost to the very end.

140710 SCO IRE M002Conor Harte was the first to test out Cachia’s reflexes with a bullet flick from a penalty corner that the Scotland stopper did well to turn away low to his right.

After 14 minutes, Scotland took the lead. Bain picked up the ball on the left hand side and entered the D. With the angle narrowing all the time he unleashed a reverse stick strike that found the net via the crossbar giving David Harte no chance.

Cachia repeated his save from another Conor Harte penalty corner and then the Scotland No1 scrambled across goal to block from Michael Watt after he had been set up by Eugene Magee.

Having held their lead at the break Scotland had a good chance to double their advantage just into the second half. Bain tried his luck but Harte got a good glove on the ball to save.

Ireland continued to have the majority of the possession but were a little wasteful in the final third. Cockram shot wide of the near post and then Harte hit a good reverse stick strike that once again Cachia repelled.

Scotland were always a threat on the counter and Alan Forsyth put in a terrific shift, hassling and harrying the defence as well as making some threatening breaks. He helped force a penalty corner that Dan Coultas fired goalwards, thwarted only by an outrageous clearance from Jonathan Bell.

It looked like Scotland would cling on for a classic smash and grab win but then with seconds remaining the ball was turned over inside the Scottish half. Watt did well to draw the last defender and crossed perfectly for Cockram to apply the finish.

It was perhaps harsh on Scotland who had defended impeccably up till then, but Ireland would doubtless argue that they deserved something from the game. Perhaps a draw was about right.

England 7-0 South Africa.
Investec London Cup 2014.England made it two wins from two with a dominant display to smash in seven goals against a below par South Africa. Doubles from Ashley Jackson and Nick Catlin did the damage along with further strikes from Barry Middleton, Simon Mantell and Mark Gleghorne.

As they did in their opening game with Scotland, Bobby Crutchley’s side struck the first blow early on. Just six minutes had elapsed when Jackson and Catlin swapped passes, freeing the No7 in the D. The East Grinstead man scuffed his shot but it somehow found its way past Rassie Pieterse.

South Africa hit back and George Pinner was forced into a splendid save, dashing from his line to block from Lloyd Norris-Jones after Taine Paton had played his team mate through. At the other end Robin Jones did well to clear a Mantell effort off the line but it was not long before England scored their second. Catlin ran right through the heart of the defence and then lifted the ball over the goalkeeper with a calm finish. Then, Pinner was called upon once more, this time blocking with his face mask from Jean-Pierre de Voux.

With 19 minutes on the clock, Middleton added his name to the score sheet. A flowing move from inside the England half culminated in the captain somehow getting to the ball ahead of the advancing goalkeeper to dink it home. Two minutes later it was 4-0, much to the delight of the home crowd. A trademark penalty corner from Jackson ripped into the net despite the best efforts of Tim Drummond on the line who got a stick to the ball but could not keep it out.

Pieterse did well to save another penalty corner from the England No7 and he was up quickly to see off the rebound, too. The South African goalkeeper made an even better save moments later: Catlin deflected Ollie Willars’ cross goalwards, but the giant goalkeeper displayed superb reactions and agility to get a block in and keep the ball out.

With three minutes left in the half England made it 5-0. Alastair Brogdon showed superb skills to get away along the baseline on the right before cutting the ball back for Catlin to net his second of the match.

South Africa continued to struggle after the break and Brogdon was unlucky to see his shot fizz wide of the target. Then, Catlin, searching for a hat-trick on his 100th international cap could only find the side netting with a rocket strike.

Mantell got in on the act of scoring with 13 minutes to go, applying a simple finish after good work on the right by Harry Martin. The scoring was complete with four minutes to play. Gleghorne found the top corner with a fierce drag flick from a penalty corner.

South African Captain Austin Smith could not hide his disappointment at the end, calling for the experienced players in the ranks to stand up and be counted, and demanding improvements across the board from his team.

England on the other hand will look forward to their clash with Ireland this coming Saturday and hope to set a marker ahead of Sunday’s final.

Photos courtesy of Ady Kerry.

About thetopofthed

Columnist for The Hockey Paper and the man behind The Top of the D. Writer, podcaster, goalkeeper and BBC Sport man. Used to work for Great Britain Hockey and have covered the sport at every major tournament.
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