Faulkner: Don’t write Team GB off yet

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DANIEL FAULKNER has shrugged off defeat to Australia and insisted: Team GB can still win gold.

The 18-year-old, who graduated from the Havant youth ranks, scored as the British talents lost to the host nation at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival yesterday.

Faulkner’s maiden Team GB strike was not enough to prevent a 6-4 defeat in Sydney.

But after watching another ex-Havant talent, Sam Hatherley, score in Wednesday’s 7-3 win over Malaysia, the teenager is refusing to write off their chances of taking the title.

First up, though, is the final pool tie against USA.

The teenager said ‘I’m a bit disappointed. We turned the ball over everywhere a bit too much and it cost us the game.

‘We need to keep passing the ball and then we’ll be able to take teams apart.

‘We’re now looking to push forward, win our next game and get to the final to get another crack at Australia.’

Despite the defeat, Faulkner – whose father David won gold for Great Britain at the Seoul Olympics in 1988 – admits he will still cherish the goal.

‘I enjoyed my goal – I’ve been practicing that one – grooving the shot,’ he said.

‘I’m not a regular scorer so it’s nice to get on the scoresheet.

‘It’s my first for Great Britain and it was a good time to score.

‘Unfortunately we went and let in another, so it kind of cancelled out the joy of that one.’

Faulkner had put Team GB 3-2 ahead in the first half only for the Aussies to fight back after the break and hit them with two late goals to win it.

The former Portsmouth Grammar School ace had helped Team GB get off to a flying start with a 7-3 mauling of Malaysia on Wednesday.

After leading 4-0 at the interval, the Brits took their foot off the gas in the second half. Malaysia improved before Hatherley netted to ensure success.

Faulkner said: ‘We were very pleased with the result.

‘We didn’t know what Malaysia were going to be like but it was a good win and we scored some good goals.

‘It was a fairly good performance all round – except for the second half where we were a bit sloppy.’

Meanwhile, Widley ace Rebecca van Berkel featured in the ladies’ side who went down to China 2-1 yesterday.

Team GB lost their opening tie with Australia 3-0, meaning the best they can hope for now is a bronze medal.

It is tough on the 18-year-old former Havant talent, who reckons Team GB could have beaten the Aussies and now be fighting for gold.

Van Berkel, who studies and plays for the University of Birmingham in the Investec League premier division, said: ‘We had so many chances.

‘We hit the post and couldn’t convert our penalty corners. It was like they had a force field around the goal.’

Van Berkel will also face USA in her last pool tie – a dress rehearsal for the third-place play-off.

n Lloyds TSB Local Heroes, in partnership with SportsAid, supported 1,000 of Britain’s most talented athletes on their journey to London 2012. As part of their commitment to leaving a sporting legacy, the programme will continue in 2013. Follow future stars at facebook.com/lloydstsblocalheroes