BARRY Middleton’s Olympic dream turned into a nightmare as Team GB suffered an embarrassing 9-2 semi-final defeat to the Netherlands.
The host nation were completely outclassed by the Dutch, who provided a masterclass in attacking hockey.
Great Britain found themselves 4-1 down at half time after a lacklustre showing but things quickly got worse after the interval as the Netherlands ran riot.
Former Doncaster Hockey Club graduate Middleton, chasing his first ever Olympic medal, was part of the Great Britain squad that finished ninth at the 2004 Athen Games and fifth in Beijing four years ago.
Team GB have bettered those outcomes at their home Games but that will be scant consolation after the biggest night of their hockey lives turned sour.
Middleton and his teammates now have to pick themselves up for Saturday’s bronze medal match with Australia.
BARRY Middleton was on the scoresheet again as Team GB rescued a dramatic 3-3 draw against Australia to stay on course for the hockey semi-finals.
Middleton pounced from close range - his third goal of the tournament - as the hosts came from 3-0 down and levelled late on through James Tindall.
Team GB will secure a semi-final berth with a draw against Spain in their final group game on Tuesday.
“At 3-0 it would be very easy for us to drop our heads because the Aussies have shown over the last few years when they get five or six ahead they can kill you,” said Middleton.
“We showed that we would never let that happen.
We lost a few little battles in the first half but as the game went on we built confidence in ourselves and even at 3-3 we didn’t start looking for a draw.
“It was a bit crazy and open but it was a brilliant game of hockey - this is the way it should be played and I hope people enjoyed it.”
BARRY Middleton’s medal hopes suffered a setback as Team GB needed a contoversial late goal to rescue a 2-2 draw with unfancied South Africa.
Britain’s hockey men were expected to beat a South African side that lost 6-0 to Australia in their opening game.
But their performance never reached the level of Monday night when Middleton scored twice in a 4-1 win over Argentina.
In the end Team GB were fortunate to escape with a draw - the video referee ruling in the host nation’s favour to award Ashley Jackson’s late equaliser.
Team GB face Pakistan in their third group game on Friday (4pm).
SWINTON’S Amy Oliver bowed out of the individual archery event on Wednesday morning - despite beating world number one Deepika Kumari.
Oliver produced the shock of the round to defeat India’s Kumari 6-2 to the delight of a packed Lords Cricket Ground.
But the South Yorkshire ace could not follow it up in the round of 32, losing 6-1 to Indonesia’s Ika Yuliana Rochmawati.
Oliver, 25, later described her win over Kumari as the pinnacle of her sporting career.
South Yorkshire Times’ Liam Hoden said on Twitter:
@liamhodenDFP: Superb determination from Amy, kept going and forced Rochmawati to shoot really well.
Amy will take a lot from her first Olympics, it certainly will not be her last. Showed a great deal of maturity for the ‘pup’ of team.
Monday, July 30
TEAM GB captain Barry Middleton got his London 2012 campaign off to a dream start with two goals in Monday night’s 4-1 win over Argentina.
Former Doncaster Hockey Club star Middleton fired home from close range to break the deadlock and doubled GB’s advantage after the break with a drive from the edge of the D.
Bessacarr lad Middleton said: “The first game can often be the most nervy, even when you have prepared as well as we had, you never know where you stand until the tournament starts.
“Once we got into it we played some great hockey.
“There are a lot of good individuals in that Argentina side but we closed them down very well.
“We played well as a whole team.
“And it was a brilliant feeling to get a couple of goals.
“We have said for a few weeks now that we are going to be playing some good hockey and it was nice to back up those words out there.”
Team GB’s men’s hockey side are back in action on Wednesday against South Africa (4pm).
Get the very latest London 2012 updates by following Free Press sports writers Paul Goodwin and Liam Hoden on Twitter: @paulgoodwinDFP & @liamhodenDFP.