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FIH Pro League: GB women beat Belgium, but men lose

PUBLISHED: 17:42 19 May 2019 | UPDATED: 17:42 19 May 2019

Laura Unsworth and Grace Balsdon celebrate (pic Frank Uijlenbroek)

Laura Unsworth and Grace Balsdon celebrate (pic Frank Uijlenbroek)

WORLDSPORTPICS.COM/Frank Uijlenbroek

Great Britain’s women claimed their first home win in the FIH Pro League with a 2-0 success over Belgium.

Action from GB's match with Belgium (pic Frank Uijlenbroek)Action from GB's match with Belgium (pic Frank Uijlenbroek)

But the men suffered a 4-0 defeat at the hands of their Belgian rivals, who are the reiging world champions.

Superb goals from Grace Balsdon and Lily Owsley earned GB women the spoils on Sunday, having been unlucky to only take a point from Argentina on Saturday.

Mark Hager's side, including Havering's Emily Defroand and Hampstead & Westminster's Sarah Robertson, were impressive again, and put in an excellent display to take all three points.

Britain were dominant throughout but found Belgian keeper Aisling D'Hooghe in superb form, especially in the first half when GB made 19 circle entries.

However the deadlock was broken when Balson lashed home a superb penalty corner on her 50th international appearance.

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And with time ticking, the hugely impressive Owsley capped her performance with a stunning goal, running from halfway before smacking home with seven minutes to go.

The win took GB up into sixth in the table, and with more key matches to come - especially at home - they will be looking to make further inroads in this year's inaugural FIH Pro League.

GB's men were punished by a ruthless Belgium side in the later match at Lee Valley Hockey & Tennis Centre.

Belgium took advantage of any mistakes in the home back line and showed the quality that gave them a first World Cup title last year.

Britain, with Hampstead & Westminster's Harry Martin and Will Calnan in their squad, had their moments, but the visitors were excellent at both ends of the pitch; decisive in attack and Vincent Vanasch top class in the Red Lions' goal.

While of course the home crowd wanted Britain to win, they cannot fail to have been impressed by a side that includes the current FIH world player, goalkeeper and young player of the year.

For Britain, they reflect on two games against Argentina and Belgium this weekend in which they performed well in considerable spells but ultimately weren't able to convert possession into the goals they craved.

It was another top class weekend of international hockey in the capital, and next up for Danny Kerry's side is the reverse fixture in Antwerp on May 30.


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