SHEFFIELD’S Alastair Wilson and Doncaster’s Barry Middleton are planning on adding their names to the list of Yorkshire medal winners as they were part of the Great Britain men’s hockey team to make the Olympic Games semi-finals last night.
Needing just a draw against Spain an Ashley Jackson goal from a short corner after 25 minutes settled the home team’s nerves, but they were forced to hang on during a frantic final quarter of an hour as Pau Quemanda levelled.
The British were fortunate to see off a couple of late Spanish short corners and even more lucky when South African umpire John Wright overturned two decisions which would have given Spain last minute set piece chances.
But while there was accusations from Spain coach Dani Martin of “favouritism” to the Olympic hosts and “serious consequences for the sport” if the decisions weren’t investigated 28-year-old Wilson was just happy to get the win.
He told The Star: “We don’t make it easy for ourselves. We knew it was always going to be hard because Spain are a good team and they’re desperate to get to the semi-finals. There were a few nervy moments but we got there in the end.
“They were putting the pressure on, we never want to just be hanging, we want to be playing.
“It did end up that way. It doesn’t matter how we get there at this stage, it’s about getting the results.”
Wilson, a former Meadowhead school and Sheffield College student said the team can now relax ready for their semi-final with the Netherlands on Thursday.
“This is the fun bit now. We wanted to get in the medal games and see what happens. See where we can go with it. It now becomes less pressure and a lot more fun.”
Captain Middleton said: “Being from Yorkshire you tend to play these things down a bit, but it’s an amazing feeling. The nerves around the last 16 minutes meant we put a few people through the ringer.”