It's agony and ecstasy as star of women's hockey team injured but Team GB grab gold
18:25 GMT, 6 May 2012
The star of Great Britain’s women’s hockey could be a doubt for the Olympics after suffering a shoulder injury during the side’s gold-medal winning performance over Argentina in the test event.
Alex Danson, labelled the team’s Wayne Rooney by head coach Danny Kerry, appeared distraught as she came off cradling her left arm following a collision with an Argentine defender.
Danson, who scored two brilliant reverse-stick goals during the tournament, has a history of injuries, including dislocations of both shoulders, and the agony etched on her face seemed to tell of more than just physical pain.
Victory: The team beat Argentina to get gold
The provisional 18-strong squad for London 2012 is named on May 18 and leaves Kerry in the tricky position of potentially having to select a player far from full fitness.
Britain’s penalty corner specialist Christa Cullen scored a set-piece brace to win the match 2-0 but then also left the field with a sprain to her right ankle. She did not take part in the lap of honour around the Riverbank Arena, and left the field on crutches. Her injury is thought less serious than Danson’s though.
After the match Kerry said he would be talking to the umpire manager over the Argentines’ strong-arm tactics, although he stopped short of saying they directly led to the injuries.
‘I don’t know anything about Alex yet, unfortunately, she’s been taken away to be looked at,’ Kerry said. ‘I think it’s a shoulder, she has had a history of shoulder problems.
Injury: Alex Danson clutches her leg, and hobbles off (below)
‘She’s probably as important to our team as Wayne Rooney is to the football team, she scores the goals. She’s pretty direct and as a result opposition know that they have to prevent her getting near the circle, because she’s pretty lethal in and around the area.
‘Christa is a sprained ankle and I’m pretty sure that’s not too serious. I will be chatting to the umpire manager after the game. I do feel there was an element of breaking down of play. I don’t think it contributed to the injury but it led to it being a pretty poor game for the spectators.’
Britain did not concede in 280 minutes of play at this tournament against three of the world’s best teams and two straight wins over Argentina, the World Cup and Champions Trophy holders, bodes well for the real thing this summer.
The pressure will be on the team to replicate this form and top the podium in London but Kerry has no problem with his side being in the spotlight.
‘As long as we have a grip on where we are, and I think we do, we’re fine with expectations,’ he said. ‘If you want to play at this level it comes with the territory.’