Smith targets bronze after Dutch defeat

Richard Smith, right, watches on as GB team-mate Glenn Kirkham and Klaas Vermeulen battle for possession

Richard Smith, right, watches on as GB team-mate Glenn Kirkham and Klaas Vermeulen battle for possession

Southsea Octopush Club celebrate their Europush Championship win

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Richard Smith’s hopes of hockey gold were destroyed as Great Britain were crushed 9-2 by rampant Holland in last night’s semi-final clash at the Riverbank Arena.

Former City of Portsmouth man Smith and his fellow defenders had no answer to the stunning skills exhibited by the Dutch, who made it six wins from six in the competition.

Billy Bakker and Roderick Weusthof each grabbed hat-tricks, with Mink van der Weerden, Floris Evers and Teun de Nooijer also on the mark.

Ashley Jackson and Rob Moore grabbed Great Britain’s two consolations.

The loss leaves the host nation facing a battle for bronze tomorrow against Australia, before Holland meet Germany in the final.

For Smith, the key now is to regroup and try to end on a high.

He said: ‘There isn’t really a team you want to beat more than Australia and it shouldn’t be hard to get motivated for that.

‘The 9-2 score against Holland was not a fair reflection of the two teams’ quality.

‘They finished their chances well and were a few goals better than us, obviously.

‘We now owe something to the crowd.

‘We need to go at Australia and show everyone the team we really are.’

It was a memorable night for the large contingent of orange-clad Dutch supporters in the Olympic Park.

Weusthof smashed in the opener and from there a Dutch win never looked in doubt.

The second goal was tough on Smith, who could not get his bright yellow boot out of the way of a shot in the circle, resulting in a second penalty corner.

Holland fumbled the initial hit, only for the ball to break fortuitously to Weushof, who slammed home.

GB briefly got back into the contest when talisman Jackson thundered in his sixth goal of the tournament.

But van der Weerden drilled in for 3-1 as the frenzied pace of the contest continued.

Bakker than added a brilliant fourth after a slick move.

A brief GB rally early in the second half came to nothing.

And Bakker, De Noijer, Evers and Weusthof added further goals for the ruthless Dutch.

Great Britain grabbed some pride back when Moore diverted the ball home with just over five minutes to go.

But it was not a day to cherish as GB’s glory bid was dashed.

Smith added: ‘Holland put their marker down first and got away from us.

‘They were calm and made the most of the ability they have. They are very good hockey players.’

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