Whiteman forced to settle for a sixth place final spot

DISAPPOINTING DEFEAT: Tim Whiteman who featured for Great Britain in their play-off loss against Argentina
DISAPPOINTING DEFEAT: Tim Whiteman who featured for Great Britain in their play-off loss against Argentina

Former Harleston Magpies star Tim Whiteman was forced to settle for sixth place at the Men’s FIH Hockey World League Final last week.

The Beeston Hockey Club player, who was raised in Denton, was part of the Great Britain team competing in Raipur, India, over the last two weeks.

And after finishing top of Pool A to progress into the quarter-finals, Whiteman and his GB team-mates suffered a shock 2-1 defeat to the host nation India in the last eight.

A 4-2 defeat to Argentina in the fifth place play-off last Friday saw the Brits finish the international field hockey tournament in sixth place.

Whiteman came off the bench in the play-off defeat to Argentina, which started with Great Britain conceding three goals in the opening 17 minutes before fighting back with two of the last three goals.

But head coach Bobby Crutchley insisted his GB team left themselves just too much to do after trailing 3-0 in the early stages of the contest.

“We gave away some cheap penalty corners and didn’t defend them very well, which with the corner threats they have is always going to make life difficult,” he said.

“We played better in the second-half but by then it was too little, too late and the damage had been done.”

Pedro Ibarra opened the scoring for Argentina in the fifth minute, firing a penalty corner past James Bailey in the Great Britain goal with a low drag flick.

Just before the first break Argentina won another penalty corner, and Gonzalo Peillat doubled their advantage to take his goal tally to seven for the tournament.

Argentina won a series of penalty corners in the opening exchanges of the second quarter, and from the third of these the ball was slipped to Ibarra who fired home his second goal to make it 3-0.

With time running out to start a comeback, Simon Mantell pulled a goal back for GB from a penalty corner in the 50th minute.

But their glimmer of hope was quickly extinguished four minutes later, after Peillat scored his second penalty corner to put Argentina 4-1 up.

With three minutes left on the clock GB got themselves on the scoreboard again,as Phil Roper slotted home the loose ball after Alan Forsyth’s shot had been keep out.

Head coach Crutchley was left to rue what could have been for his Great Britain team, after they began the tournament by going through the pool stages unbeaten with two wins and a draw from their three games.

“We started well in this tournament but the group as a whole hadn’t experienced this environment before, and so they seemed to find it hard to get the consistency needed for this level,” he said.

“We’ve learnt a lot and have plenty to take away from the competition but on the whole it’s a frustrating end for us.”