Indian hockey fans Down Under were in for a rude surprise on Saturday. They turned up in numbers only to see India get mauled by England 6-0 in the women’s hockey bronze medal match at the Commonwealth Games.
India had beaten England 2-1 in the pool stage, but were simply outclassed on Saturday, unable to score from the five penalty-corners they forced or put up a good fight.
Two goals down, their defence crumbled in the last six minutes and allowed the English to score thrice.
This is the third straight time that Indian women's hockey team will return empty-handed from the Games. The last time they were on the podium was in 2006 when they won the silver medal.
Sophie Gray was the star of England’s tennis score victory, with three field goals goals, while Laura Unsworth, Hollie Pearne-Webb and captain Alexandra Danson struck once each.
India had a bad start after Navneet Kaur earned their first penalty-corner in the eighth minute. It resulted in an injury to Vandana Kataria.
Gurjit Kaur's hit ricocheted off the England goalkeeper Madeleine Hinch’s pads and crashed into Vandana’s forehead.
The injury forced Vandana off the field.
Hollie Pearne-Webb put England ahead from a penalty-corner in the 26th minute, beating Indian goalkeeper Savita with a crisp hit.
Vandana returned to the field with her forehead bandaged and immediately made an impact as India got three back-to-back penalty-corners. However, they were unable to convert any as the England goalkeeper and defence were up to the task.
With two minutes left in the third quarter Sophie Bray doubled England’s lead in the 43rd minute with a stunning reverse hit from the top of the circle.
India forced another penalty-corner in the first minute of the final quarter but poor execution of the set-piece drill proved their undoing.
Sophie was again target in the 48th minute. She trapped a pass from Hanah Martin, beat three defenders and slammed home.
Three quick goals from Laura Unsworth (54th minute), Sophie (55th) and Alexander Danson (56th) at the fag end of the match only added to India’s misery.