Investec London Cup Day Three: Quote, Unquote.

Goals for Wales and wins for the hosts and South Africa in both men’s and women’s competitions. Plus some praise for England’s newest star from her strike partner. Find out what the players and coaches made of it all with the quotes from day three of the Investec London Cup.

Chris Nelson, Scotland:
There are a lot of positives to come out of today. England gave us a lesson the other day and showed what a full time team can do. Their work rate and movement was incredible and they showed that. We lifted ourselves against Ireland and then again today. We’re building well towards the Commonwealth Games.

This week is about performance. We had a long gap between the last time we played and this competition so it was always going to be a shock to the system but we’re starting to nail down our weaknesses and improving all the time.

Not having a full time programme is a disadvantage, of course. If we want to be in a full or even part time programme we have to move up the rankings and do well at tournaments. Obviously we’d love to be full time but we have to show the performance to get that. Hopefully we can get there.The girls have it because they have got the results. They played in and competed in the A Division and regularly do well against good teams and so they deserve the funding. Sport is like that. It’s ruthless, when it comes to money it’s about results. We know that if we want more funding we need to get those results when they matter. That starts at the Commonwealth Games. We have a tough group but we want to go for each game and perform well and hopefully we’ll be able to win those games and get through.

Fabian Gregory, South Africa:
We don’t have the time to prepare as a group so we tend to play our best hockey towards the end of tournaments when we’ve spent more time together. That’s what’s happened here. Our level of performance has improved but I’m disappointed at the discipline today. We played 12 minutes with ten players and even nine at one stage which allowed Scotland to raise their levels and put us under pressure. In general I was happy with what we did today, though.

We don’t make excuses we take it on the chin and try to improve when we lose. If we had a full time programme, this group could make giant strides, which is exciting but we need to control what we can and ensure we defend well and our discipline is good.
Investec providing this wonderful event for us has been fantastic. It’s been great for the other teams, too but it’s really great for us to get these games under our belts and ensure we hit the ground running at the Commonwealth Games. I’m very excited about that competition.

David Harte, Ireland:
We made the game tough for ourselves. We’re aware of how good England can be but we gifted them a couple of goals and you can’t do that to a side like them. We showed a lack of match sharpness at times. The small details are what count and they are what cost us today.

Our coach has come in and done a fantastic job. He’s got us believing in our own ability which has always been there but sometimes we haven’t quite reached the levels we should. Now, we are building towards the Olympics and we’re pushing hard to keep improving. We have a squad of 30 and we’re all keen to get better. If we minimise the gifts we give away, especially against the better teams and make the most of our better qualities then we should be able to go forward and make these big tournaments. That’s what we’re working towards.

Mikey Hoare, England:
We’ve been playing well but there are still things we can work on. I’m very disappointed with the goal we conceded as it was a lack of concentration. I don’t mind conceding a goal to a gret piece of skill but lapses like that are something we need to cut out. On the whole, though it was a good team display.

We’ve been working on the number of shots we have. Against Scotland we had a record number of shots by an English team in an international match. We want to keep doing that and score plenty of goals. We could easily have scored more today but we need to keep improving. We’re not doing a lot differently but the group is confident and playing with no fear. We want to be ruthless in and around the D.

Tomorrow is a clean slate. They’ll come back and fight hard. We want to win tomorrow but we need to keep building for the Commonwealth Games.

Elie Barnes, Wales:
It’s great to get ourselves on the scoresheet. We’ve fought hard against teams ranked much higher than us and we tried to be a lot more attacking today. We’ve not done that before over this week and so today it was good to get our pacy forwards involved and give the defence a rest!

Emma Batten up front had a brilliant game. She chased everything down and put them under pressure. Leah Wilkinson too has been excellent but some of the younger players are starting to really step up. The average age of the squad is 20 but the players are starting to get caps under their belts and experience and we’re building all the time hoping for a couple of scalps at Commonwealths. We’ll take the Commonwealth Games as they come but we’re realistic. We want to put in a performance in each game that we’re proud of. Things are difficult against the full time teams but we don’t like to make excuses. It is what is, we give our best and that’s all we can do in the end.

Jade Mayne, South Africa:
The aim was to go out and score goals, which we’re always capable of. We wanted to implement some tactics today in preparation for tomorrow’s final. Some things didn’t go to plan but overall we’re happy with the way things went.

We hope it’ll be humdinger of a game against England. We know them well as we’ve played them recently, we’ll take the positives from today, improve the things we didn’t do so well and go into a physical fast paced game. We’ll be doing our best to upset the home crowd!

Nikki Kidd, Scotland:
We came here looking for performances and looking to improve and bring everything together for the Commonwealth Games, we’ve done well and worked hard and it’s all starting to come together. We’ve had bits of good hockey and bits that we need to improve in this competition but we’re definitely heading in the right direction. We want to peak at the Commonwealth Games. We are focused on the process and working together and it’ll be great to pick up results in Glasgow. The things we’ve done well and the learning points we’ve picked up here should stand us in good stead come that tournament, we’re looking forward to it.

I’ve trained with Maddie Hinch and we used to have some little competitions about how many I could score and how many she could save. She’s a great keeper who covers her goal well, so I just tried to think about me and where I wanted to put the ball. I got my head down and went for it and luckily it went in!

Here the crowd is great and the atmosphere is fantastic. The Scottish supporters are renowned for being passionate and noisy and it’s not often we get those sorts of crowds so the Commonwealth Games will hopefully be like today, but for us. It’ll be great.

Alex Danson, England:
We’re really happy with how it’s gone so far. This is a great platform for us to build towards the Commonwealth Games as we’ve had different challenges from each opposition. It was scrappy and tough today but great to get the win and keep building.

There’s always a bit of regeneration and picking ourselves up from what was a disappointing World Cup. What we didn’t lose was belief in what we can do. We lost things in both circles which made life tough and of course it hasn’t been easy but we haven’t lost faith in our ability so this tournament has given us plenty of confidence.

I’m pleased to be able to contribute some goals but hand on heart I can say I don’t mind how we score or who scores as long as we keep winning. It’s about the chances I’m given by the team and it’s my job, so I’ll keep doing my best to contribute for the team.

Lucy Wood is a fantastic player. She brings a lot of energy and she opens up the field for us, she’s also got a good early shot. People don’t realise how hard working she is, too. She had an ACL reconstruction 18 months ago so she’s shown great strength of character to come back and play for her country. I’m proud to have her in the squad.

The new venue and the support is amazing. We have our identity back here and it’s wonderful to see. The volunteers, the hockey makers are incredible. You see the same faces as well as some new, younger ones and without them, none of this would happen. It’s a great testament to our sport that these people are here time and time again. They make it work and make it so special and we can’t thank them and the fans enough for the support.

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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