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Great Britain too hot for Jillaroos

21 January 2007

Great Britain has taken out the gold medal at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival upsetting Australia 4-2 at the Sydney Hockey Centre.

In unbearable heat, the host team was unable to maintain their undefeated status for the tournament with the tourists coming out strong and never looking back.

“It was absolutely amazing to beat Australia in the final,” said 17-year-old Sarah Page.

Within the second minute of play Hailey Brown, 19, put a goal away for Great Britain. Page didn’t waste any time scoring shortly after and a shell-shocked Australia trailed 0-2.

Star Australian scorer Samantha Gale hit back in the 15th minute with the scores remaining unchanged until half-time.

Great Britain increased their lead to 4-1 by the 54th minute with 16-year-old young gun Charlotte Craddock scoring their last goal.

Gale maintained her tremendous record for the tournament scoring again for Australia with a few minutes remaining but the it was Great Britain’s day.

Skipper Natalie Seymour said, “It was amazing, we came out so strong in the first 10 to 15 minutes and really took it to them which is what we wanted to do.”

With the heat reaching the high thirties, officials positioned themselves around the pitch with water bottles for players to quickly re-dehydrate when necessary.

But unfazed by the sweat dripping from her face, 20-year-old Seymour beamed, “We knew we had the ability to do this we just had to come forward at the right time and luckily we did.”

“We’ve obviously had some ups and downs in this tournament and we’ve learnt a lot, but with such a young squad that is just fantastic, I’m overwhelmed and just so proud of the whole team,” she said.

In the bronze medal match, China fought New Zealand with the Kiwis prevailing 3-1.

While the determined players left the field red-faced at half time, neither had scored a goal. The second half proved to be a different game; New Zealand made an impact and gave their fans something to cheer about as Karlie Maloney, 20, put away the first goal followed by Liz Perry, 19, scoring twice in the last ten minutes.

With one minute remaining on the clock China was desperate to put themselves on the board with 20-year-old Na Na Xing taking a successful shot on goal.

At the conclusion of the AYOF Great Britain have ecstatically taken home the gold medal, Australia the silver and New Zealand the bronze.

Rebecca Sleeman

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