Watch Canadian field hockey player Balraj Panesar grab the neck of English rival Chris Griffiths during a fight at the Commonwealth Games
Field hockey took a page from its winter counterpart at the Commonwealth Games as a savage clash erupted between two rivals on Thursday.
The fight unfolded in the second quarter as England put on the pressure and looked to extend their 4-1 lead over Canada.
Watch the ugly scenes – including shocking close-up replays – in the video above
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England’s Chris Griffiths received a pass inside his attacking D but quickly lost in a one-on-one tackle with Canadian Balraj Panesar.
The real battle, however, had only just begun.
Griffiths broke free from Panesar but grabbed his rival’s stick – an illegal act worthy of a penalty – and only let go when they were face to face after a light push.
Panesar was clearly miffed and upped the stakes considerably by grabbing Griffiths’ neck – in full view of multiple cameras – and continuing with punches.
“Panesar completely lost it,” the commentator said.
The Canadian remained the aggressor as Australian referee Stephen Rogers blew the whistle as players from both sides rushed to circle the rivals in battle.
The verbals continued before Panesar was dragged away by his teammates, with a heavy punishment looming.
“Don’t come here. Don’t come here. I’ve seen it all,” Rogers warned other players.
“I grabbed him by the throat. I’m not happy with (that),” he added to a fellow referee.
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Rogers then handed out a red card to Panesar, taking him out of the game, and a yellow to Griffiths for retaliation.
“He kept going,” Rogers said of explaining Griffiths’ sin to the other England players.
“I understand (he hasn’t started) but he just needs to relax.”
England would extend Canada’s pain in the second half, adding seven goals to their tally for an 11-2 win.
The hosts will now face Australia on Saturday for a place in Monday’s final.
Aussies relish game against Pakistan
The Kookaburras sealed top spot in their group with a 7-0 win over Pakistan later on Thursday at the University of Birmingham.
Pakistan, who faced the Australians for the first time in four years, were bold and skilful in their quest for a two-goal victory that would have seen them beat South Africa for second place in the other group .
Instead, South Africa’s upset at New Zealand in the previous game saw them face off against India, who edged England for first place on goal difference.
“We have to go out and play our best every day because if you’re out you’re in big trouble,” Australian flag bearer Eddie Ockenden said after the win over Pakistan.
“Yesterday (against South Africa) and today, close fights in the first half.
“They are awesome players… I love having Pakistan in the tournament, they are beautiful to watch, so skillful, hard to tackle. It’s so cool hockey and good crowds.
“We have to do our best and I love playing with home teams… it’s not always that we get big crowds so it’s going to be great.”
Tokyo Olympics silver medalists Australia won all six men’s hockey gold medals at the Commonwealth Games but came under fire early on.
Pakistan were denied three times by Australian goalkeeper Andrew Charter, twice in a row in general play and then again from an ensuing penalty corner.
Australia, who are yet to concede a goal in the tournament, got a rebuttal from Blake Govers.
The striker obliged when presented with an open goal, Jake Whetton flirting with the baseline before his pass to Wickham was then slapped in the face by Govers.
Jeremy Hayward added another from scratched, low-drag film to keep Pakistan’s dream away from the finale and obscure the parish crowd in a city with healthy Pakistani people.
The University clock – the world’s tallest freestanding clock tower nicknamed Old Joe – chimed 10 p.m. in the background as Hayward marked his second.
Then Daniel Beale somehow controlled a ball as he lay on the ground in the circle, sweeping a pass to Wickham for his first.
He then found space inside the post to complete a superb solo run before Jacob Anderson and Nathan Ephraums completed the rout.
Australian goalkeeper Johan Durst then got valuable minutes and made several precise saves to maintain Colin Batch’s unfailing defensive record.
– with Murray Wenzel, AAP
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