Hockey contingent have plenty to feel proud about
Kent’s hockey players helped England finish Glasgow 2014 on a high with victory in the bronze play-off against New Zealand on Sunday morning.
After losing 4-1 in Saturday’s semifinal against Australia – who beat India 4-0 to claim gold – an England side featuring Chatham-born former Sutton Valence School pupil Ashley Jackson and Holcombe HC contingent Barry Middleton, George Pinner, Iain Lewers, Dan Fox and Nick Catlin, faced the Black Sticks in the bronze medal play-off at Glasgow Green.
In a dramatic game, England were twice indebted to Jackson for stunning penalty corner conversions. However, despite England coming from behind to lead 3-2 with eight minutes left, the Black Sticks drew level, forcing a penalty shoot-out.
Holcs stopper Pinner was the hero with one save and forcing another shooter to drill wide, while Jackson, Catlin and Middleton converted their shuffles.
With England 3-2 ahead, Simon Mantell stepped up to try and win it, although he was fouled by the NZ keeper, receiving a penalty stroke which hit-man Jackson dispatched into the top corner.
Middleton said: “I’m not going to wipe the smile off my face for a little while. We wanted to be in the final but it doesn’t take anything away from leaving here with a Commonwealth medal.
“After the semi-final, we said no-one in the room had a Commonwealth bronze medal so we shouldn’t demean the bronze medal game. I was wrong because (coach) Bobby Crutchley has got one and now we’ve got one to match.
“We’re going to enjoy this now but then we need to remember what got us there – we must go further. This is a good group of players and since London, we’ve improved at every tournament we’ve played.
“This will keep me playing for a long time because I believe in this group and think we can go and win things.”
England’s women – another side full of Kent talent – had mixed emotions after coming just 11 seconds from gold in their final against Australia.
Lily Owsley gave England a secondhalf lead which they held until Holcombe keeper Maddie Hinch was beaten from a last-gasp penalty corner.
The match went to penalty shuffles and although Hinch pulled off a fine save from one effort, the Hockeyroos ran out 3-1 winners.
The squad also included Egerton’s Susannah Townsend of Canterbury HC and Hinch’s Holcombe team-mates Lucy Wood, Laura Unsworth, Sam Quek and Nicola White.
South Africa’s women suffered a 5-2 defeat against the Black Sticks in the bronze match, with Canterbury’s Dirkie Chamberlain and Shelley Russell, of Holcombe, in action.
Canterbury duo Nikki Kidd and Nikki Lloyd helped Scotland to sixth, with Kidd netting in Friday’s 2-1 defeat to India while clubmates Kwan Browne and Mickel Pierre were in the Trinidad & Tobago side which finished 10th.
England’s ladies won silver, left, and, above, Ashley Jackson celebrates winning bronze