The insane numbers of Orange under Alyson Annan

With the departure of Alyson Annan as national coach of the Orange Women, a success story of unprecedented magnitude has come to an end. Led by the former Australian star player, the Dutch squad captured one top prize after another and climbed to lonely heights in international women’s hockey. We look back in facts and figures on the period of Orange under Annan.

12 final tournaments

The final round of the Hockey World League in December 2015 was the first tournament that the Orange Women played under the leadership of Alyson Annan. That was not a real success. The Orange squad lost 1-0 to host country Argentina in the quarterfinals in Rosario and eventually finished fifth in the tournament.

In the two tournaments that followed, the Orange squad reached the final, but the main prize was out of reach. In the final of the Champions Trophy in London in 2016, Argentina once again defeated the Orange (1-2) and in the final battle of the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016, Great Britain proved too strong after shoot-outs. In the nine final tournaments that followed after the downer of Rio, the Orange always showed themselves supreme.

Eva De Goede in action against Argentina during the quarterfinals of the 2015 Hockey World League in Rosario. Photo: FIH/Getty Images

Nine main prizes

The tournaments and country competitions (the first two editions of the FIH Pro League) in which the Dutch have participated since 2015, yielded no fewer than nine main prizes. Annan’s palmares as Dutch national coach include three European titles, a world title, an Olympic title, the win of the very last Champions Trophy, the overall victory in the Hockey World League and two times winner of the Pro League. Furthermore, during her period as national coach of the Orange Women, Annan was elected FIH Coach of the Year in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

59 players deployed

Annan used 59 different players for the national team in her seven-year period as national coach. No fewer than 31 players made their international debut under the retiring national coach. Den Bosch veteran Margot van Geffen was most often selected by Annan: she was in 130 of the 137 international matches. Also Caia van Maasakker (127 capital letters) and Laurien Leurink (120) were often one of the first names Annan put on the scoresheet.

Alyson Annan with Margot van Geffen, who played the most international matches under her leadership. Photo: Willem Vernes

Matla top scorer

Partly due to her goal explosion in 2021, Frédérique Matla is the most productive player in Annan’s Orange. In ninety international matches, the goal thief of Den Bosch was good for 64 hits. That is eight more than Matla’s Bossche teammate Lidewij Welten, who scored 56 times in 107 international matches during Annan’s reign. Matla was also the most frequently involved in a goal under Annan, as she also prepared a further 19 team-mates’ goals and thus had a direct share in 83 goals.

Goal getters among themselves: Orange’s current goalscorer Frédérique Matla gives a box to the former top scorer of the Australian women. Photo: Willem Vernes

Cartload of goals

In the 137 international matches under Annan, a goal could be cheered 475 times. The Bossche attackers Matla and Welten together account for about 25 percent of the entire production (120 goals). The 475 hits came from the sticks of 35 different players. Maartje Krekelaar (Den Bosch) was the first goalscorer in the Orange against Alyson on 5 December 2015 during a 5-1 win over Germany, Welten on 10 November 2021 the last during the 3-1 win over Belgium in the Pro League.

The Orange squad scored ten goals or more in four games under Annan. The biggest win was the 14-0 against Russia at the European Championship 2019 in Antwerp. On home soil, the 10-0 victories over the Czech Republic (Euro 2017) and Scotland (Euro 2021) are the biggest triumphs.

A familiar image from Annan’s time as national coach: cheering after another goal. Photo: Willem Vernes

Hardly any defeats

Of the 137 international matches that the Orange Women played under Annan, 117 ended in a victory after regular time. Thirteen times an international match ended in a draw and only seven times did the Dutch national team come out on top within regular time. If we only look at the competitive international matches – the international matches in tournaments and in the FIH Pro League – then there are 98 matches on the counter of Orange. Of these, the team won 85, against nine draws and only four losses. Those defeats came against Argentina (three times) and Australia.

44 matches in a row unbeaten

The Orange squad had its best series of matches in numbers between July 30, 2017 and January 27, 2019. In that period, the formation of Annan remained unbeaten for 44 (!) international matches in a row, the longest series without defeat in modern women’s hockey. That record run included 43 wins and one draw. That one draw – a 1-1 against Australia in the semi-final of the 2018 World Cup – resulted in a victory after shoot-outs. At the moment, the Orange squad has already been unbeaten for 22 matches in a row (21 wins and one draw) since the 2-0 defeat against Argentina on February 15, 2020 in the Pro League.

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