Atkins keeps England on right course: Hockey

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England continued their winning run with a comfortable 3-0 victory against Italy yesterday in their fourth pool game in the NCM European Nations Cup here and remain on course for a place in the semi-finals on Friday, writes Bill Colwill from Amstelveen, the Netherlands.

England did just enough but will be grateful to two penalty corner goals from their sweeper, Jill Atkins, making her 100th appearance for England. Tammy Miller, following up at another Atkins strike, secured the points.

England opened their scoring in the 20th minute. Jane Sixsmith was floored as she entered the circle, and Atkins stepped up for the penalty corner to take her tally in this championship to five.

Atkins collected her second seven minutes into the second half and two minutes later Miller picked up England's third.

England play their last Pool match this evening against Ireland, who yesterday beat France 2-1 thanks to two goals from their captain, Sarah Kelleher.

ENGLAND: H Rose (Ipswich); J Atkins (Bradford Swithenbank); S Lister (capt) (Ipswich), C Cook (Hightown), L Cope (Leicester Balsam); M Davies (First Personnel Sutton Coldfield), K Brown (Slough), M Nicholls (Slough); J Sixsmith (First Personnel Sutton Coldfield), J Smith (Ipswich), A Bennett (Slough). Substitutes used: L Bayliss (First Personnel Sutton Coldfield), T Cullen (Hightown), F Lee (Hightown) and T Miller (Clifton).

Umpires: U Lowenstein (Ger), J Vudmaskova (Cz Rep).