Defroand delighted to make GB debut as tough tour of Argentina ends in series loss
PUBLISHED: 14:00 23 February 2018
Havering’s Emily Defroand was delighted to make her Great Britain debut on their tour of Argentina and felt they played some of their best hockey yet in the five-match series, writes Lee Power.
Defroand, 23, already has 25 England caps to her name and was proud to wear a GB vest for the first time in south America.
“I really enjoyed the experience of playing in Argentina for the first time and the passion the Argentinians have for women’s hockey was nothing I’d ever seen before,” she said.
“Every game was totally sold out and the crowds were electric. I was also fully aware that these matches were the first time that a Great Britain hockey shirt had been worn since the Rio Olympic final and to receive my first GB cap was even more special. It was a very proud moment.”
GB took the lead in the first two matches, but lost 2-1 and 3-1, and the hosts claimed a 5-2 win on Valentines Day.
Captain Alex Danson’s hat-trick earned GB a 4-2 victory, before Argentina won the last match by a single goal, and Defroand added: “We were slightly disappointed with only winning one game of the series, however I think we played some of our best hockey of the Olympic cycle to date and that is something we can definitely build on over the coming months.
“Argentina are one of, if not the most skilful teams in the world and they consistently play with attacking flair and intensity. We managed to restrict them for long periods and moving forwards we will look to take greater advantage of this game control and use this momentum to match performances with results.”
Defroand played in the first four matches and was pleased with her progress, ahead of a return to a busy training block.
“It was obviously a slight shock to the system playing in 30-degree heat compared to the freezing British winter, however I loved every minute.
“I feel I’m constantly learning and wanting to improve, both for myself but more importantly the team. I still have to pinch myself that this is my job – there is honestly no prouder moment!
“We are back into centralised training on Monday ahead of a very busy three-week block as separate nations. England’s Commonwealth Games team will be announced in the next few weeks and we have a three-match series with Ireland. Training will be of a heavy volume and high intensity, building up to peak for April’s trip to the Gold Coast.”
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