India, coached by Dutch tactician Sjoerd Marijne, was at its menacing best in the second quarter – scoring three goals – but even that effort wasn’t enough to end up on the winning side. Gurjit Kaur (25th minute and 26th) and Vandana Katariya (29th) were on the scoresheet in what eventually turned out to be a disappointing match for India.
Ellie Rayer (16th), Sarah Robertson (24th), Hollie Pearne-Webb (35th) and Grace Balsdon (48th) got one goal each for Britain, which took the third and final spot on the podium.
In hot and humid conditions at the Oi Hockey Stadium in Tokyo, both teams took a little bit of time to settle into their rhythm. Britain was the better of the two sides initially, testing the Indian defence with a close-range effort from Ellie. But, India goalkeeper Savita Punia positioned herself well to avert the danger.
Despite earning a couple of penalty corners, Britain could not break the deadlock in the first quarter. However, it did manage to open its tally seconds into the second quarter. After a good move on the right flank, Britain sounded the board through Ellie, who was credited the goal although the ball went in off an Indian defender.
Britain doubled its advantage in the 24th minute as Sarah delivered a difference-making reverse flick. Down by two goals, India dominated the final few minutes of the second quarter, during which it astonishingly scored thrice to take the lead.
Gurjit was in top form, converting two penalty corners in the 25th and 26th minute to level the scores. A minute from the half-time hooter, Vandana made it 3-2 for India with a field goal that stood after a long TV referral. India, which was down 0-2 at one stage, went into the interval with a slender one-goal advantage.
The lead didn’t last long though as Britain levelled the scores in the 35th minute from the stick of Pearne-Webb. Both nations had goal-scoring opportunities later on in the third period, but didn’t disturb the scoreboard that read 3-3 with 15 minutes to play.
In a match that saw many twists and turns, Britain struck the winning goal in the 48th minute, courtesy of a penalty corner conversion by Grace. Trailing 3-4, India went in search of the much-needed equaliser but failed in its pursuit.
Result: Women bronze play-off: India 3 (Gurjit Kaur 25’ & 26’, Vandana Katariya 29’) lost to Great Britain 4 (Ellie Rayer 16’, Sarah Robertson 24’, Hollie Pearne-Webb 35’, Grace Balsdon 48’)