In the Hockey Pro League, an annual competition between the top nine teams in the world, if a game is called off before the 4th quarter, regardless of the score, double points are awarded to the team who were victorious in the previous encounter, as GB women discovered in their recent outing against Australia.
The match was called off at half time due to a lighting storm. At this point, Great Britain had completely dominated the game and were leading 1-0, courtesy of a goal from Anna Toman in the 17th minute. She had converted from a penalty corner in the Sidney Olympic Park. Nevertheless, at half time, when the rain and lightning was deemed too severe for the match to continue safely, it was Australia who were gifted the win.
Australia beat GB in the game the week before, with a 60th minute winner from Grace Stewart and consequently were awarded the points when the game was not allowed to continue. This is in accordance with the International Hockey Federation rules which state that a score cannot stand unless the 4th quarter has been reached and the Pro League rules that state, if a game is called off, the points go to the team who won last when both teams met. The latter was agreed to unanimously by all teams in the Pro League and GB Hockey agreed that, “it fully respects the decision”.
On the other hand, some GB players did not seem quite as comfortable with the fairness of the situation. Goalkeeper, Maddie Hinch, called the rule “ridiculous”, writing that the outcome was determined by “obscene T&Cs” on her Twitter account. Whilst most of the replies criticised the rule, many were asking the same question. Why was it agreed to by all teams in the first place?
Team GB now sit in 5th place whilst Team Australia are 3 places above in 2nd. 4 points separate the sides, the same amount of points that are awarded per win in the league. In other words, should GB have beaten Australia in the abandoned game, the current positions would be reversed and GB, the current Olympic champions, would be much closer to the top spot.
The competition resumes on the 28th April where GB take on the Netherlands, who are currently in 1st place.
Let's hope for better weather...
... or better rules.