SOJC : Great Britain's U21 Men's Team claim gold at the 8th Sultan of Johor Cup
Photo Credits : GB Hockey

Two goals from James Oates helped Great Britain’s U21s Men secure their second Sultan of Johor title with a superb victory over India.

The Hampstead & Westminster midfielder struck twice in the third quarter, assisted on both occasions by Cameron Golden, who finished the event as Britain’s top scorer.

That came after Daniel West had equalised for the 2015 champions after Gursahibjit Singh’s fourth minute opener.
Abishek’s outrageous strike dragged India back into the tie with five minutes remaining but Britain’s defence – the meanest in the tournament – held firm to go one better than last year’s silver medal.

Eager to avenge their dramatic loss to to the same opponents yesterday, India began firmly on the front foot as Mandeep Mor forced Ollie Payne – who was later named as the ‘Best Goalkeeper of the Tournament’ – into a flying save from a second minute corner.

There was nothing the Durham University ‘keeper could do to keep out Gursahibjit shortly after though as his reverse stick shot took a wicked deflection.

Britain then got their own slice of luck three minutes later as Draper’s cross was only half blocked and fell beautifully for West, who smashed the ball between Pankaj Rajak’s legs.

The teams then took it in turns to apply pressure throughout the second quarter but another breakthrough proved elusive, with a dangerous but untouched cross from Abishek and a Matthew Ramshaw effort smothered by Pankaj the only notable moments.

Patience paid off for Jon Bleby’s side however as they took a 34th minute lead, with West again involved as he forced the ball into the box before Golden set up Oates to smash it past Pankaj.

They almost doubled their advantage two minutes later but this time Pankaj was able to smother West’s effort before Thomas Russell fired the ball the wrong side of the post.

Despite being temporarily down to ten men, it was Great Britain who struck again in the 43rd minute as Golden exploited space down the right baseline before an intelligent cutback found Oates unmarked, allowing the Player of the Match to smash in his second.

Payne was forced into an important save at his near post with just eight minutes remaining but he was could do nothing to stop Abishek’s stunning tomahawk shortly after.

Vishal Antil then led a swift counter attack in the 56th minute but his shot was blocked by his own team-mate before the rebound was scuffed over Payne’s goal in what was to prove to be his side’s final effort of the game.

Golden almost grabbed himself a deserved goal in the dying moments but was denied by Pankaj, although it was not to matter as his side became the third team – alongside India and Australia – to win the title on two occasions.

Starting XI: Payne (GK), Nurse, Draper, Oates, Turner, Griffiths, Ramshaw, Park, Way (C), Mackenzie, Scott

Subs: Mazarelo (GK), Buckle, West, Crowson, Russell, Golden, Rushmere