Sam Ward said he was delighted to help Team England’s men’s hockey side get their Commonwealth Games off to a flying start with a 6-0 win over Ghana at the University of Birmingham.
Leicester-born forward Ward top-scored on the Gold Coast in 2018 but was unable to add his name to the scoresheet on this occasion as Nick Bandurak’s hat-trick plus scores from Phil Roper, Will Calnan and David Condon secured the three points in Pool B.
Only the brilliance of Ghana goalkeeper Duisberg Offei on his country’s first ever Commonwealth Games fixture prevented England from doing more damage on the scoreboard, but Paul Revington’s men will be full of confidence ahead of facing Wales on Sunday.
Ward said: “Their goalie had an unbelievable game, that was incredible to see but we’ve got a win under our belt.
“Games like that throw up a lot of challenges and we didn’t know what to expect, so we are happy to get up and running.
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“It was unbelievable to be back on home soil and having a big crowd supporting us all the way.”
Ward revealed he is determined to podium again after winning bronze in Australia four years ago and with India and Canada also lying in wait, England are leaving no stone unturned in their quest for gold.
He added: “For me, the target is to go home with a medal. Obviously we would like it to be gold but it’s a case of going through the processes right now.
“It’s a good start, we’ve now got to build into Sunday then Monday and go from there.”
England had been in the village for six days before their opening hit-out and Ward credited the professional atmosphere within the side for pushing standards sky high, something they will have to maintain if they are to progress to the latter stages.
He said: “The mood in camp is very good. We are demanding very high standards of each other and we’ve got to keep sticking to them to really progress through this tournament.”
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