Britain vent anger on hosts

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The Independent Online
Hockey

BILL COLWILL

reports from Atlanta

United States 2 Great Britain 5

David Whittle, Great Britain's manager, was a relieved man after his team's win against the host nation, the United States, in their opening game of the Six Nations pre-Olympic tournament here yesterday.

Hours of negotiation followed the team's arrival last Tuesday, as the attempt was made to salvage something out of an appalling series of organisational blunders which had threatened the tournament. Even so, Britain were playing on an inadequate warm-up pitch to which the coach, Jon Copp, attributed the lacklustre British performance. "We played as if we were playing on a poor pitch. We were looking as if we had had a bad day at the office. There was little flow in our game." Certainly the players were very wary of the bumpy surface.

Rob Thompson scored his 50th international goal when he put Britain into the lead after 15 minutes. Restricting the Americans to one shot and a fumbled penalty corner, Britain had dominated the first half without a a great deal to show for their efforts.

Stunned by an equalising goal from Larry Amar three minutes after the interval, Britain stepped up a gear, scoring four times in a 13-minute spell which strongly featured both Nick and Rob Thompson, although the goals came from Jason Laslett, Calum Giles - a cracking shot after the American goal had miraculously survived four previous British attempts at a penalty corner - and two from Russell Garcia. In between the Egyptian Ahmed Elma Ghraby had scored a second for the host nation.

Jon Clark, the former Slough goalkeeper now the United States coach, was disappointed with his team, particularly with the lack of goals from his two Dutch strikers, Steven van Randwijck and Mark Wentges.

GREAT BRITAIN: D Luckes (East Grinstead); J Wyatt (Reading), J Halls (Old Loughtonians); G Fordham (Hounslow), Kalbir Takher (Cannock), S Hazlitt (Hounslow); J Shaw (Southgate), R Garcia (Polo Barcelona), R Thompson (Hounslow), J Laslett (capt, Teddington), N Thompson (Old Loughtonians). Substitutes used: M Pearn (Reading), C Giles (Havant), C Mayer (Cannock), Soma Singh (Southgate).

UNITED STATES: S Wagner; O Steffers, B Maruquin, S Danelson, P Sykes; N Butcher, L Amar (capt), S Jennings; M Wentges, Ahmed Elma Ghraby, S van Randwijck. Substitutes used: R Langord, B Schledorn, J O'Neill, S Williams.

Umpires: R O'Connor (Irl), Z Irfan (Pak).

n Jane Sixsmith, the all-time leading British goalscorer, will win her 100th British cap against the Netherlands at the National Stadium in Milton Keynes today. Britain are defending a 17-game undefeated run which includes a 2-2 draw with the Dutch, who are European champions, in the Olympic qualifier in Cape Town last year.

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