Australia peg back injury-hit Great Britain in Perth

by HWC member Mike Haymonds via the Daily Express
Wednesday, February 17th, 2016

GREAT BRITAIN led three times but had to settle for a 3-3 draw with Australia in the third of a six-test series, now level at 1-1, as their injury woes continued.

Crista Cullen, who scored GB’s opening goal, went to hospital with suspected concussion after previous  injuries to two other key players. Alex Danson injured a hand in training before the first Test and is flying home for treatment. Lily Owsley, the recently crowned FIH Rising Star, dislocated her collar bone early in the first test and is being operated on locally but is staying with the squad.

The match, played in extreme heat, had two milestones as GB captain Kate Richardson-Walsh equalled Karen Brown’s record as the most capped British international player with 355 appearances while Ellie Watton reached 50 combined caps.

It was only the third draw in 40 meetings of the two nations and Cullen was also the scorer in the most recent, a 1-1 tie in 2010. She only returned to the centralised GB Olympic training squad four months ago after retiring post-London 2012.

Her opening goal came from GB’s first penalty corner in the 12th minute but Australia equalised a minute later with a Gabrielle Nance deflection. 23 seconds into the third quarter Watton restored

GB’s lead but Karri McMahon levelled from the penalty spot six minutes later. Helen Richardson-Walsh fired home a third on 47 minutes after good approach play by the lone Scot Sarah Robertson but Ashleigh Nelson ensured honours ended even with a 54th minute strike.

Kate Richardson-Walsh said: “That was a really tight game. The first two matches were close but this was even closer. It felt like the heat took it out of both sides and we had to contend with a few injuries but we did well and are pleased with the draw.

“We’ve lost a couple of players but we brought a big squad, we’ll cope with and we’ll be fine.

“I felt 35 years old today! It’s a massive honour to equal Karen Brown’s record. It feels like we’ve been talking about it for a while so I can’t wait to break the record. It’ll be nice to get there, a really huge honour.”