England and Ellie on brink of early World Cup exit

England's Ashleigh Ball is dejected after defeat to China in their Pool B game in the Rabobank Hockey World Cup at the Kyocera Stadium, Den Haag, Netherlands, 3rd June 2014. Photo Ady Kerry EMN-140406-123758001
England's Ashleigh Ball is dejected after defeat to China in their Pool B game in the Rabobank Hockey World Cup at the Kyocera Stadium, Den Haag, Netherlands, 3rd June 2014. Photo Ady Kerry EMN-140406-123758001

Oakham School teacher Ellie Watton started for England women in the 2014 Hockey Rabobank World Cup on Tuesday when the team fell to their second loss of the tournament.

Attacker Watton, 24, who lives in Oakham, came off the bench in the opening game of the tournament when England unexpectedly lost 2-1 to the United States.

On Tuesday she was given a starting spot in the England team but was unable to find the net in the 3-0 defeat to China.

China are ranked seventh in the world and renowned for their strength in defence, which they demonstrated across the 70 minutes of play.

The difference in the two teams came down to efficiency in the danger areas of the pitch. China had just three shots on target throughout the whole game and those three shots resulted in goals, while 25 circle penetrations from England failed to result in a single goal.

China scored twice through Yang Peng and Meiyu Liang scored from a penalty corner.

England are now staring down the barrel of an early exit from the competition, held in The Hague in the Netherlands.

England head coach Jason Lee said: “That’s two games running now that we’ve had three times as many circle entries as the opposition. For 60 circle entries we’ve only scored one goal and for 20 against we’ve conceded five, which makes life very difficult.

“For long periods I felt we just needed to get one goal from the chances we were creating.

“The players put their heart and soul into the game. Ultimately it is my job to get them ready to play and take their chances. We’ll be looking at that - how are the chances created and what can we do to help the girls to take them.”

On Sunday the USA scored twice from penalty corners through Paige Selenski and Kelsey Kolojejchick.

England created chances and had several penalty corners, but Jackie Kintzer in the USA goal stopped everything that came at her.

Kintzer and her defence were under pressure for much of the second half and eventually England found a way through with captain Kate Richardson-Walsh on target from a penalty corner. Despite pushing hard and even switching to 11 outfield players right at the end the USA held on to their advantage to seal the victory and take the three points.

England women’s next game is against South Africa on Friday at 1.30pm

It will be shown live on Sky Sports.

England are currently ranked number three in the world and must finish in the top two of a group that also includes Argentina and Germany to reach the semi-finals.