Team GB's Ben Hawes dedicates performance to Wimbledon Hockey Club
Great Britain’s Ben Hawes has dedicated his Olympic performance in a pulsating 3-3 draw with Australia to Wimbledon Hockey Club.
The Riverbank Arena witnessed a terrific fightback by Great Britain after the Aussies had racked up a 3-0 lead and were seemingly in complete control.
But Jonty Clarke, Barry Middleton and Surbiton’s James Tindall scored three goals in 23 minutes to steal a point, meaning Great Britain only need to draw with Spain on Tuesday to progress to the semi-finals.
But Hawes revealed that his performance owed a great debt to his club team, saying: “One of the reasons I joined Wimbledon Hockey Club is so I could give the Olympics a proper go.
“This year we’ve been training full-time for the Olympics – so you’re training six days a week plus playing club hockey and I took a decision to let the club hockey come second fiddle and Wimbledon were great and they supported me in my decision. They enabled me to do that otherwise things may have been different.”
He added: “Playing at Wimbledon is like 100 people on the sidelines with a few dogs but I look forward to going back to the club and enjoying it.”
Great Britain team mate and scorer of the dramatic equaliser TIndall said: “We had the crowd behind us and it made for such a good atmosphere, which is something as hockey players we’re not used to.
“I am a massive Chelsea fan with a season ticket for Stamford Bridge, but I think that atmosphere tonight would eclipse everything.”
He added: “It was a great moment when I scored. Barry (Middleton) gave the ball back to me and that’s what I want, I want the ball in the D. I got a little fortunate with a deflection but things like that happen, the ball goes in an the Riverbank starts rocking again.”
The Australians asked for a video referral on the equalising goal claiming obstruction but the goal stood and a dramatic night was complete.
Hawes said: “The atmosphere was unbelievable in the second half and it just goes to show that home support really can lift us.
“Maybe we shouldn’t give them a three-goal head start next time but at the end of the day if play them again it is likely to be for a medal. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.”