FIH Women's Hockey Pro League 2023-24:  India ends campaign with heartbreaking 2-3 loss to Great Britain 

Great Britain v India - FIH Pro League Women
Great Britain came from behind to beat India 3-2 in London

The Indian side came tantalisingly close to pulling off a major upset in their last match of the 2023-24 Hockey Pro League, before going down 2-3 to Great Britain on Sunday, June 9.

Charlotte Watson scored early as Great Britain kept the Indian defense busy before Lalremsiami's equalizer at the end of the first quarter swung the momentum India's way at the Lee Valley Hockey Stadium in London.

Navneet Kaur's deflection helped India take the lead midway through the second quarter but two late short corner goals from Grace Balsdon ensured that India ended the European leg of the tournament without a win.

Elena Rayer's scorching run early on forced Savita Punia into a save before Great Britain stormed the Indian circle for a second time.

Tessa Howard picked out Charlotte Watson, who beat Savita despite not trapping the ball perfectly the first time. Watson had ample time to direct a goalbound shot from close range to power her side to a 1-0 lead in the third minute.

Then a deft touch from Lalremsiami, who deflected Neha Goyal's probing cross into the back of the net, levelled things up for the Indians a minute before the end of the first quarter.

A captivating penalty corner routine employed by the Indians in the 15th minute gave Udita a chance to take a crack at the goal but the 26-year-old defender from Haryana failed to latch on as well as she would have liked to.

Isabelle Petter then bravely ran down Deepika's drag flick in the 20th minute but the Indians earned another immediately after. Jessica Buchanan stopped Deepika's powerful strike as the Indians failed to execute the follow-up penalty corner.

The Indian side maintained the pressure as Baljeet Kaur's reverse hit made its way into the Great Britain goal off a feather touch from Navneet Kaur, giving them nose ahead by a 2-1 margin in the 23rd minute.

Great Britain then fought back in the final quarter. Vaishnavi did well to run down Amy Costello's drag flick after the hosts earned a penalty corner in the 55th minute. But the Indian short corner defense had no answer to Grace Balsdon's drag flick as Great Britain restored parity in the 56th minute.

Just two minutes later, a strong challenge from Sunelita Toppo led to a short corner, with Grace Balson scoring a second to shatter Indian hopes.

Summing up India's 2023-24 Women's Hockey Pro League campaign

India in action against Great Britain during the first leg match of the Hockey Pro League
India in action against Great Britain during the first leg match of the Hockey Pro League

The Indian side, who began their Hockey Pro League campaign against China, the Netherlands and the USA under the tutelage of Janneke Schopman, have now ended the season with Harendra Singh as coach.

The Hockey Pro League mini-tournament in Bhubaneswar and Rourkela lost a part of its sheen coming as it did immediately after the Olympic qualifiers where the Indians failed to book a spot for the Paris Games.

Two losses against continental rivals China with identical 1-2 margins did little to bring cheer to the home side with a 1-0 upset win against Australia being the only silver lining for India.

Harendra Singh rejoined the Indian women's camp after a six-year gap as a struggling side took on the likes of Belgium, Argentina, Germany and Great Britain in a couple of mini-tournaments in Antwerp and London.

With eight points from 16 games to show for their efforts, India ended eighth out of nine teams in the Hockey Pro League with just two outright wins against Australia and the United States back in February.

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