England’s men made it double bronze at the Commonwealth Games after putting in an excellent display to defeat India in their bronze medal match.
Sam Ward scored both goals to take him to the top of the tournament’s goalscoring charts with nine, but it was very much a team performance to secure consecutive bronze Commonwealth medals for England’s men.
The Beeston forward scored twice from penalty corners, his first coming in the opening quarter, only for Varun Kumar to equalise before half time from a corner of his own.
But it was Ward who grabbed the winner in the 42nd with a very clever reaction finish after his initial effort was blocked from a corner to secure a third Commonwealth medal in the men’s team’s history, following bronzes in both 1998 and 2014.
Barry Middleton had the first chance of the game, flashing a reverse stick effort just wide of the post with four minutes on the clock.
But Crutchley’s men did not have to wait long for a goal; David Goodfield winning a penalty corner that Ward rasped home low past the goalkeeper’s right hand.
England then enjoyed the majority of the possession for the rest of the half, Chris Griffiths the closest to scoring as his 15th minute effort was saved, before India exerted some pressure of their own before Varun calmly stroked the ball home to equalise shortly before the break.
Both teams had good chances in the second half, as a Phil Roper corner almost fell for the waiting Henry Weir before Akashdeep Singh had a very good chance to get on the scoresheet.
Ward then made his opponents pay as he beautifully smacked home a rebound after his initial effort was blocked for his ninth of the tournament, moving him three ahead of his nearest rivals before the gold medal match.
After Ian Sloan’s corner flick was blocked India started to exert pressure in search of an equaliser but England’s defences weren’t to be breached, with Pinner making two good saves while Adam Dixon took a ball to face and a stick in the ribs for his troubles.
Full time saw England’s players rightly celebrate their victory as they showed admirable heart to bounce back from a semi final defeat 20 hours earlier.