Hockey: Australia hit back to deprive England of place in final

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The Independent Online
England's valiant effort to win a place in tomorrow's final of the World Junior Cup failed when they lost 2-1 to Australia in an exciting semi-final at Milton Keynes last night. Australia's opponents will be India who, to the great delight of their large number supporters, had overcome a two-goal deficit to win 4-3 in extra time, their golden goal coming from Rajiv Mishra.

England's challenge got off to a splendid start as Adrian Simons gave them the lead eight minutes into the game at their second penalty corner after Paul Wicken had been chopped by Matthew Wells.

Australia upped the pace immediately, putting tremendous pressure on the England defence, in which goalkeeper Jon Ebsworth and central defender Jon Evennett were outstanding. Eventually the English cracked but not until the 58th minute, when Ben Taylor put the Australians on terms. Five minutes later, Troy Elder scored the winner from their eighth penalty corner. There was still time for England to rally and they were unfortunate not awarded a penalty stroke in the closing minutes when Stuart Humphries had his stick taken in the circle.

England's coach, Jon Royce, congratulated the Australians on their success. "They are a very good side. They made us defend deep and on the balance of play they deserved to win."

He added that he was disappointed in the sending off of Evennett and the performance of the Spanish umpire. Although Evennett had just returned when Australia equalised, his absence for the previous 10 minutes had probably been the turning point.

England will play the defending champions, Germany, for the bronze medal tomorrow, starting at one o'clock.

ENGLAND: J Ebsworth (Teddington); B Garrard (Unattached, capt.); M Johnson (Cannock), J Evennett (Canterbury), R Stamp (Beeston);R Irvine (Oxford University), D Haydon (Teddington), Manpreet Kochar (Reading), A Simons (Southgate); P Wicken (Canterbury), S Humphries (Canterbury). Substitutes used: A Boyse (Lewes), D Mathews (Canterbury), M Pearn (Reading), T Matthews (Oxford Univ.).

Australia: C Murray; M Richards; G Davis, M Wells, D Butler; S Webster, B Livermore (Capt.), A Commens; S Brennan, T Elder, B Choppy. Substitutes used: G Bolton, B George.

Umpires: R Wolter (Ger) & X Adell (Sp).

The World Hockey Federation announced yesterday that England, and Milton Keynes, will stage the 2000 Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournament, which will probably be held in the second half of 1999.

DRAW FOR 1998 WOMEN'S WORLD CUP (Utrecht, Neth): Pool A: Australia, China, Germany, Scotland, South Africa, United States. Pool B: Argentina, England, India, South Korea, Netherlands, New Zealand.