Britain leave Giles behind

Hockey
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The Independent Online
Calum Giles, Britain's penalty corner specialist, is not included in the squad selected for the Six Nations Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh at the beginning of next month, writes Bill Colwill.

Because four of the teams in the tournament - the hosts Malaysia, Australia, Netherlands and South Korea - are in the same pool as Britain in the Olympics, their coach, David Whitaker, said: "We're keeping our main powder keg - Calum Giles - under wraps for the time being".

Giles has not been so successful in recent games, although he has scored several very important goals, and it may be the coach's way of sending him a warning message. But corner striking is a team effort - pusher-out, stopper and striker - and the service from the first two has not been too good lately. It seems surprising that the opportunity to practise in match conditions against the top defences is not being taken.

The hamstring injury to Simon Hazlitt gives Phil McGuire, out of international hockey because of a back injury since the European Cup, the opportunity to stake a late claim for an Olympic place which, before injury and the arrival of Jon Wyatt to partner Julian Halls at the back, had looked fairly likely. McGuire would now seem to be competing with Soma Singh for the cover defender role.

Assuming Giles does return, Danny Hall and Howard Hoskin, not with the squad recently returned from Atlanta, will be vying for the 16th Olympic place.

With Britain still finding it difficult to convert chances it is a little surprising Jason Lee has not been given another chance. The Old Loughtonian has a knack of scoring important goals. Another to be overlooked is the National League's top goalscorer, Cannock's Bobby Crutchley, currently playing in Milan.

GREAT BRITAIN SQUAD (Six Nations Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, Ipoh, Malaysia, 4-12 May): S Mason, J Wyatt, H Hoskin (Reading), D Luckes (East Grinstead), J Halls, N Thompson (Old Loughts), C Mayer, Kalbir Takher (Cannock), J Laslett (capt), P McGuire (Teddington), G Fordham, R Thompson (Hounslow), R Garcia (Polo Barcelona), J Shaw, Soma Singh (Southgate), D Hall (Guildford).

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