GB upset the odds to win the Azlan Shah Cup

Tuesday, May 9th, 2017
Azlan Trophy

GB celebrate winning the Azlan Shah Trophy

GREAT BRITAIN upset the odds by beating the world No 2 side Australia 4-3 in a thrilling final at the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia.

It came 33 years since GB’s last victory in this tournament and denied nine-time champions Australia a fifth successive title. GB were the first European winners since The  Netherlands in 2006.

GB have made an encouraging start to the new Olympic cycle leading up to Tokyo 2020 after a successful tour to South Africa in March when they won a two-test series with the hosts and shared another against Germany 1-1. Since Rio coach Bobby Crutchley has introduced 12 new players into the central training squad, including Dan Kyriakides the first Wales representative in recent years, and six of the newcomers  were in Malaysia. 

GB had lost their only game in the round-robin stage to Australia by 2-1 but they never looked likely to suffer a similar fate in the final when goals from Surbiton duo Alan Forsyth and David Goodfield  put them ahead after 11 minutes. Unmarked at the top of the circle, Forsyth fired home his fourth goal of the tournament and three minutes later a smart penalty corner move set up Goodfield to tap into an empty net.

Eddie Ockenden reduced the deficit just before half time but three  minutes after the break Barry Middleton found Beeston’s Ollie Willars upfield and he fired past the outrushing goalkeeper. A minute later Dylan Wotherspoon’s pass  to Tom Pollard put the Aussies just a goal behind again but Sam Ward and Forsyth combined  to set up Goodfield for his second goal.

Australia took off their goalkeeper twice in the latter stages but the moves only yielded one further goal by Wotherspoon from close range with twelve minutes to go and GB held off strong pressure to earn the win.