A National League Hockey Club, part of Holcombeians Sports Club

Mixed fortunes for Great Britain and Holcombe trio to kick off new FIH Pro League season

By Lucas Ball

Great Britain – featuring Holcombe trio Ollie Payne, Phil Roper and Nick Bandurak – took four points from their opening four FIH Pro League 2023/24 (Season 5) matches to leave Paul Revington’s side sitting third in the table.

Roper started all four matches in Argentina as Great Britain, the Netherlands and their hosts kicked off the new season of the FIH’s hallmark tournament, while Payne started three matches and Bandurak was involved in three – starting twice.

GB began their trip with a 2-1 defeat against their hosts, former Holcombe man Sam Ward scoring a consolation with 10 minutes to play after Agustin Mazzilli and Tomas Domene had given Mariano Ronconi’s team a two-goal lead.

Revington’s men earned their first win in their second fixture against the Netherlands, as Surbiton forward Struan Walker scored either side of a Bandurak goal as GB ran out 3-2 winners, the Dutch goals coming courtesy of Jorrit Croon and Jip Janssen.

Roper was the only Holcombe man involved in the third match as GB played out a 1-1 draw with the hosts, Jacob Draper scoring for Revington’s side before Lucas Martinez levelled things up. Argentina took the bonus point by winning the shootout 4-1.

Terrance Pieters and Joep Troost scored either side of Ward in GB’s final match as the Netherlands defeated Revington’s team 2-1.

Bandurak earned his 50th combined international cap on the trip, while Roper also reached 200 combined caps for GB and England – congratulations to both!

GB were captained by James Albery in the absence of Holcombe coach David Ames.

Four former Holcombe players were involved for Great Britain’s women as they picked up just a single point from their four fixtures against the same opposition.

Laura Roper (formerly Unsworth), Sarah Robertson, Charlotte Watson and Miriam Pritchard all played for David Ralph’s side as they drew 0-0 with Argentina in their first game before losing the shootout, ahead of a 2-1 loss to the hosts, sandwiched by 8-0 and 5-1 defeats against the Netherlands.

Roper now has 339 caps and sits third on the all-time list for England and Great Britain.