It was a day of threes for the England hockey teams in Delhi.
With a 3-0 victory over Malaysia, England’s women have reached the semi-finals of the Games for the fourth consecutive time since hockey was first introduced in 1998 while James Tindall struck three times as his hat-trick inspired England’s men to a 5-3 win over New Zealand.
Lincolnshire-born teenager Georgie Twigg scored her first senior international goal, England’s third, in a controlled win over the Malaysians, who are ranked 22nd in the world.
Depending on results in the other pool, Twigg and her team-mates will play either South Africa or Australia in Monday’s final four clash.
With Malaysia content to defend for large spells of the match, England put in a professional performance to break down the Asian side’s stubborn resistance. Lancashire-born Nicola White opened the scoring just before half time with a neat finish and Hampshire girl Alex Danson doubled the lead with an excellent solo effort five minutes into the second half.
Nineteen-year-old Twigg rounded off the scoring when she deflected in Crista Cullen’s penalty corner. Later, she modestly insisted it was simply a case of being in the right place at the right time.
“It’s fantastic to get my first goal here at the Commonwealth Games. It’s even better that it has helped us get to the semi finals. The corner wasn’t practiced. I just got myself into the right place at the right time.”
In the men’s competition, a James Tindall-inspired England ran out 5-3 winners over New Zealand with Surrey-born Tindall netting a hat-trick. His third goal, lashed home from the top of the circle, took him to 49 international goals, one short of his half century.
Tindall said: “We’ve relied on Simon Mantell for most of our goals so far so it’s nice to take the heat off him a bit. It’s important we get as many people as possible on the scoresheet because four games in five days is hard work but the spirit and morale in this team is brilliant.”
Tindall had a late effort to reach 50 international goals thwarted by New Zealand goalkeeper Kyle Pontifex.
“It was close,” he said. “The goalkeeper is always going to make some saves. Yes, it’s a little frustrating as a forward when that happens but I’m happy with a hat-trick, which I think is my first in a senior international.”
England head coach Jason Lee paid tribute to Tindall’s ability. “I wouldn’t want to be behind many of his shots – he hits them so hard,” he said. “A couple of his goals today were typical ‘Tinds’ shots.”
Reading’s Richard Mantell, originally from Somerset, scored his first goal since being flown home from the Delhi World Cup in March with a broken ankle. Windsor-born Rob Moore scored England’s other goal.
England’s women must wait to learn whether they face South Africa in their semi-final on Monday, while the men play the South Africans in their final pool match on Sunday lunchtime.
A draw or victory for England will see them through to the men’s semi-finals.