Harry Martin hopes his European Championships aren’t over

Harry Martin

Harry Martin - Credit: Archant

Harry Martin hopes his EuroHockey Championships aren’t over following England’s progress to the semi-finals of the prestigious competition.

The 21-year-old former Ipswich School pupil once again was only able to manage a few minutes of action yesterday before the hamstring injury he sustained in the final warm-up match before the tournament flared up again.

The Three Lions had gone into their final group match in Belgium needing a draw with Ireland to secure qualification to the knock-out stages.

Bobby Crutchley’s side raced into a 2-0 lead thanks to Tom Carson’s brace, but then had to endure a nervy finish to the match after Shane O’Donoghue converted two controversially awarded penalty strokes.

George Pinner – who, like Martin, hails from Ipswich – stood strong in goal during a frantic final five minutes, with a second-placed finish in Group B setting them up for a semi-final encounter with the host nation tomorrow (7.30pm GMT).

Winger Martin – one of world hockey’s most talented young players – suffered a small tear to his hamstring just before the tournament started.

He sat out the 5-2 win over Poland and could manage just a few minutes in the 2-1 loss to the Netherlands, the same happening in yesterday’s draw with Ireland.

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“It’s really frustrating,” said Martin. “I’ve tried to get back out there twice now and it’s just been too painful.

“It’s looking like I’ll have to sit out the semi-final, but I’m hopeful I’ll be able to play some part on Sunday.”

Whether England are playing in the final or a third/fourth place play-off by then will be determined by how well they cope in tomorrow’s big semi-final against the host nation.

“It should be a 10,000 sell-out and the place will be rocking,” said Pinner. “We went into this tournament with the goal of reaching the semi-finals, so we’re going into this match with the pressure off.

“It was a nervy finish against Ireland, but we held on and that shows how we have developed as a young side over the last few months.

“Belgium are a good team, but we’ve watched videos and believe we can definitely cause them problems.”