HOCKEY: Australia v England: Do medals truly make you the better team?

Australia and England met in field hockey during the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup final where Australia beat England in a 2-1 battle at the Stadium Azlan Shah, Ipoh, Malaysia. Both teams met at the beginning of the competition for their first games which ended in a 4–1 win for Australia. Which isn’t such a surprise due to Australia are renowned for being some of the biggest team players in the world due to Australia being number one in the world as of the teams in the international hockey federation (FIH). This is all ranked of game results of the season so far.

Comparatively, England are ranked at number seventh in the world due to their results. After the competition played out for the Azlan Shah Cup had come to the final it as an Australia v England final. In my opinion this is one of the best and most entertaining games due to it being such a close encounter and how much this meant to both teams; if England had won this would have been the second time they had won this cup and first competition of 2018 which would have given them such a boost.

This boost would have been particularly good for George Pinner and Harry Gibson as I feel they have had a struggle between themselves in the recent years with both trying to beat each other for number one place and who is truly the better goal keeper. I favour Pinner due to his experience and his attitude from being captain and how he leads his team even if they do lose but Gibson is coming into the rankings very high as he is starting to start for England more often.

For Australia the better play of the competition in my opinion was Mark Knowles, with now 400 caps for Australia in field hockey the question is will he ever retire? At age 33 he is the one leading his team to the victories and controversially may be the best field hockey player of his generation with that impressive caps and still counting. This is Knowles’ eighth time winning the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup with Australia and has numerous medals under his name. As being one of the best in the world it can be hard to keep up appearances but he has always kept his cool through winning in the Olympics and most recently the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia and getting man of the match for this.

Comparing the two teams through the competition it has been a close call for myself. Yes, England did lose to England but they beat out the home side Malaysia in a huge 7-2 thrashing. Considering that Malaysia’s national sport is Hockey, England made them seem like amateurs and I would really like to see England win something massive so they can contribute to the England women’s success. Australia and England are both battling teams that when up against each other can make some of the better games in field hockey nationally or even across the world.

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