Double Dutch delight in Pro League at Wagener Stadium

The Netherlands women and men both recorded victories over Great Britain on a rainy evening but entertaining evening of FIH Hockey Pro League action at the Wagener Stadium in Amsterdam.   

Having been held to a 1-1 draw by GB in their meeting on Tuesday before claiming a bonus point by winning the shoot-out, the Netherlands produced a vastly improved performance to earn a deserved win on Thursday.  

Caia van Maasakker opened the scoring with a perfectly executed penalty stroke just two minutes into the contest, with Frederique Matla and Eva de Goede converting penalty corners as the Dutch ran out 3-0 winners.  

 The result means that the Netherlands are now three points clear at the top of the FIH Hockey Pro League standings, having played one game less than second-placed Argentina. The score-line leaves GB lying in sixth position.  

 “It was definitely a better performance (than on Tuesday)”, said Netherlands captain Eva de Goede, who was named Player of the Match.  

“I still think we can play a bit better, but it was our goal to play better today than we did on Tuesday, and we did so that’s good. I think each individual played better today, and that is why we played better as a team. But it was mostly [about] our energy, which was way better than on Tuesday. It was more where it should be.” 

 The Netherlands men claimed their second victory over GB in three days with a dominant display, as Rotterdam striker Jeroen Hertzberger marked his 250th international appearance with his 119th and 120th international goals to seal all three points.  

Mink van der Weerden put the Dutch ahead in the first period with a trade-mark penalty corner, but a series of missed chances kept the Brits in the game, allowing Phil Roper to restore parity very much against the run of play on the stroke of half time with a fine penalty corner of his own.  

 Hertzberger’s killer blows came in the fourth period and arrived within a minute of each other, brilliantly deflecting home a Van der Weerden penalty corner before tapping into an open goal thanks to Robbert Kemperman’s precise, defence-splitting pass.  

It was no more than the Hertzberger and his team deserved, with the result pushing the Oranje up to 17 points, just one behind league leaders Belgium.  

When asked if today’s match had a special meaning to him, Hertzberger said: “It definitely does. I am very proud. Today was a special day, I got a lot of messages. I’m just very proud to play 250 games for the Netherlands.  

“We had so many chances [today]; looking at that, I think we played really well, and I’m very happy that we won the game because we really deserved to. We kept pushing, and I think in the second half we dominated. We scored three goals, and it could have been six, but it’s okay!” 

GB captain Adam Dixon also offered his reflections, stating: “I think over the two games I think we had our opportunities, and it is a story of missing a few of those, and how easy that can change the course of the game, the momentum of the game.  

“I think the Dutch scored goals at crucial periods. I thought our goal just before half time would have shifted the balance. We tried to attack, we wanted to chase the game and go for goals at the end. It got a little bit scrappy, but we haven’t played international hockey for a long time. That is not an excuse, but it is nice to be back playing.”