Investec London Cup, Day Two: Quote, Unquote.

Day two of the Investec London Cup brought plenty more goals and despite the awful weather conditions the crowd were kept well entertained. Find out what those out on the pitch made of it all with the quotes of the day:

Vikki Bunce, Scotland:
We’re delighted to get the win. We put in a good first half performance and we just needed to be patient going into the second half. It took us a while but we always felt the goals would come.

Coming into the game we talked about concentrating on performance as we build for the Commonwealth Games. We want to do well here of course, but it’s important we peak at the right time. I’ve been out a little while with injury so it’s nice to be back and get a couple of goals but obviously the team performance is most important.

We’d like to get the final of this tournament but it’s also important to play well. We want to get to the semis at the Commonwealth Games. We have a tough pool but if we play the way we are capable of we feel it’s possible for us. Building here should set us up well to go and do that.

Investec London Cup 2014.Leah Wilkinson, Wales:
At Easter we played Scotland and lost 10-0 so in the grand scheme of things we are making progress. We can be pleased with how we played first half but the second half really let us down. I don’t know if we got tired or if we lost concentration but whatever the reason, it’s disappointing to leak soft goals and I think the last ten minutes we let ourselves down and made the score look a little worse than maybe it should have been.

We have a really good Strength and Conditioning coach who writes us fantastic programmes, but at the end of the day we’re all satellite athletes. We work a long way away from a central programme, the players are scattered all over England and Wales but we all work hard around our jobs to train. Sometimes it’s difficult to compete with teams who train full time but we aren’t a side that makes excuses. We get on with it and we enjoy tournaments like this that test us against good teams.

We’re ranked 32nd, a long way behind the other teams here so it’s important we look at our performances and not the results. We have the Commonwealth Games coming up we want to build for that and hopefully improve for Europeans next year which is a huge tournament for us.

Laura Unsworth, England:
We had a point to prove, especially after our performance against South Africa at the World Cup so it was nice to come away with a win.

The morale is pretty good at the moment. We were devastated after the World Cup but we know we have a chance to put things right and make amends this summer, that’s the great thing about having the Commonwealth Games so soon after. We’ve knuckled down at training and we hope we’re moving in the right direction.

Lucy Wood’s come in a played really well. She adds something a bit different up front and it’s nice that she’s fit straight in with the team on and off the field. She wins a lot of ball and her pace is a threat to any team. Hopefully she’ll get herself a goal soon, too, she deserves it.
We’ve changed a few bits tactically, so this competition gives us a chance to make sure those tweaks are right and that we know how to execute our plans at the Commonwealth Games. We know we are capable of winning a medal there, so we’ll try our best in all the games and see what that gets us.

Danny Kerry, England:
For the first 15 minutes I thought we were second best. We were far too reactive to the play. We set up to be compact and solid defensively and I think we managed that but we failed to work off the possession we had and didn’t take the opportunity to counterattack when we had it.

The second half was not pretty but we did really well. All of the girls stood up and showed the fight we wanted. We knew it’d be a physical battle but I’m really happy with how we responded to it and how we dealt with the challenge. We missed a couple of gilt-edged chances that might have made things a bit more comfortable but we showed a lot of togetherness and I’m proud of that and proud of the girls.

Shelley Russell, South Africa:
It was a very tough game. We had some good patches; we started really strongly and created some good openings up front. As the game went on we had a few lulls. It was very inconsistent display from us. They finished stronger, but we were still hoping for the equaliser. We hope to meet them again on Sunday in the final and square this. One win each in the last two games between us, so hopefully we’ll get a chance to pick up our second against them.

John Jackson, Ireland:
You have to pay credit to Scotland, they are naturally a dogged side and very tough to break down. I thought we were a bit careless with our possession in the circle, we didn’t test their goalkeeper enough and we didn’t value possession to try and get corners. At the same time I think we were deserving of at least a draw in that game it’s just a shame our goal didn’t come a bit sooner so we could push for the three points. The gaps were there all throughout the game, but we weren’t clinical enough when we had the ball in the circle, and that’s what ultimately led to us scrambling for a draw in the end.

England is our next game and it’s always a game we want to win. The games last weekend in Dublin proved that. We’re a group in a phase building towards Olympic qualification. We look for results against top nations to solidify our belief that we can compete against them. The win over England in Dublin last week was, in my opinion, a deserved victory, and that gives us a lot of belief going forward into events like the Investec Cup and hopefully future events. People talk about wins like that as being us taking a scalp, but we want to stop using that phrase and make those victories more and more regular. Against sides like England those wins are few and far between at the moment, but hopefully if we continue on the track we’re currently on, they won’t be scalps anymore, they’ll become normal, even expected results for us. That’s the aim.

Dan Coultas, Scotland:
We played really well today. We started with good intensity and went a goal up which was very pleasing. Second half there is no denying it was a scrap. We defended and held them off but it’s really disappointing that a lack of concentration so late has cost us three points.

Our circle defence was very tight today and we bossed our circle and defended well. You can’t ignore that we were 1-0 up in the last minute it’s so disappointing to only get a point. We need to keep improving in the coming games. We know what we are capable of and we know if we can reach our full potential in competitions like this and the Commonwealth Games we can pick up wins and hopefully medals. I suppose that’s why it’s so disappointing to concede so late.

Investec London Cup 2014.Nick Catlin, England:
It’s privilege to get my 100th cap and goals don’t come often for me so I’m really happy with my performance. More importantly, I’m happy with the team’s performance. The last couple of games we scored a lot of goals which is a real positive for us and a great stepping stone for the Commonwealth Games. We put them under a lot of pressure and created a lot of chances which has been a real focus for us since the World Cup.

Phil Roper’s come in and played really well the last few games. He brings us a bit of flair and something a bit different up front and he’s getting better each game. I can’t see Ash or Gleggy letting him take any corners just yet, though. We’ll see how he gets on!

Rassie Pieterse, South Africa:
We have to give England a lot of credit. I though they were unlucky at the World Cup so we knew we were playing a top class team today and unfortunately we didn’t turn up. They played us off the pitch in the first half and then second half we chased the game and tried to get back in it which left us a bit open to the goals they scored at the end.

For us right now it’s more about the process. We’re looking at the Commonwealth Games and looking to bring some more senior players in for that. It’s tough conceding so many goals, especially for me as the goalkeeper! We need to go back and have a look at where we went wrong and cut down on the individual mistakes. Against a side like England they will always capitalise on those.

We want to be more attacking and score more goals. If we had taken some chances we created it could have been different, but it just wasn’t our day.

They have a world class midfield with Jackson and Middleton. Their movement and individual skills make it very hard. They are great at eliminating players one on one and they were very clinical in the circle. For me it wasn’t the easiest day, it was just one of those things. We need to get ready for our next game. The English crowd seemed to enjoy it, so good for them, but we need to put on a better show. Results are important but right now, we need to get our process right.

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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1 Response to Investec London Cup, Day Two: Quote, Unquote.

  1. Nick Reid says:

    I think the England v Ireland game tomorrow will be really close. Just because of the mentalities – which team has more to prove? Wales ladies don’t have enough swagger about them, not enough self-belief. But the big task for England, if they want to set big goals and have high expectations, is to go the whole tournament without conceding a goal.


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