Ipswich hockey star George Pinner reflects on a ‘missed opportunity’ for England

Great Britain Hockey - George Pinner

Great Britain Hockey - George Pinner - Credit: Ady Kerry / England Hockey

Ipswich hockey star George Pinner was today reflecting on a ‘missed opportunity’ after England lost out on a Euro Hockey Championships bronze medal on Sunday.

England's goalkeeper George Pinner looks on as Belgian team players jubilate after scoring during a

England's goalkeeper George Pinner looks on as Belgian team players jubilate after scoring during a men's semi-final Eurocup field hockey match - Credit: AP

Leading 2-1 against the Netherlands, England were unable to hold on in Belgium with Pinner conceding some of the blame should lay at his door.

Jeroen Hertzberger’s hat-trick did the damage against a relatively inexperienced team, much-changed after several English retirements from Team GB’s 2012 Olympics squad.

And while the future looks bright for coach Bobby Crutchley’s squad, that is little consolation for Pinner right now.

“We made progress no doubt and we have won bronze at the World League Tournament in Malaysia and finished fourth in Europe,” said Pinner, who featured alongside fellow former Ipswich School pupil Harry Martin, who was dogged by a hamstring problem throughout the tournament.


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“But at the moment it feels like a missed opportunity and I am pretty gutted.

“We played very well as a team but I could have done better for at least one of the goals and on any other day I would have saved it.

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“Unfortunately it was just one of those things that happen. When a midfielder or a defender makes an error, there is always the chance to make amends, whereas that isn’t the case for a goalkeeper.

“In the grand scheme of things we have improved and learned a lot but to come away without a medal is disappointing.”

Germany, whose women beat England to win gold on Saturday, claimed another gold after they beat Belgium 3-1 in the final.

George Pinner may be hurting now, but the goalkeeper, along with fellow former Ipswich School pupil Harry Martin, can look ahead to a big 2014 with plenty of optimism.

Having been on the bench for last summer’s 2012 Olympics, this was a big test of Pinner’s credentials and he generally performed well.

The main goal in the 2016 Olympics in Rio but in the meantime, Pinner aims to cement the number-one spot and go one better next year by securing his own personal silverware.

“Next year we have got the World League Final, the World Cup and the Commonwealth Games in Scotland and we have got to be targeting medals,” said Pinner, who saw the England women’s team clinch silver after losing to Germany in the final.

“The coverage on the TV, the social media sites have helped raised the sport’s profile in Britain but medals are key.”

Captain Barry Middleton pulled no punches after the game: “It’s a new team but it doesn’t give us excuses to say fourth is OK.

“We want a medal, we want to be in the final, that’s what we’re striving for. It’s a long bus trip back tonight.”

He added: “We’ve had a few too many of these where we’ve ended up fourth.

“It’s such little things. The first half was about fair but they had a good spell for 10 minutes in the second half and took their chances in that. When we had our good spells, we didn’t take the chances.

“Our individual defence was brilliant all over the pitch [but] that spell in the second half, they had a bit of a run on us. It’s really disappointing to not quite get over the line.”

Strong words they may have been, but Pinner is confident that England have the right mentality to go on to bigger and better things.

“We have got a good team spirit and if someone makes a mistake, there are no hard feelings, we have a strong and positive mentality,” he said.

“We made progress no doubt and we have won bronze at the World League Tournament in Malaysia and finished fourth in Europe.

He added: “In the grand scheme of things we have improved and learned a lot but to come away without a medal is disappointing.”

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