Canada burst Britain's bubble

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The Independent Online
Hockey

reports from Barcelona

Great Britain 1 Canada 1

After a dream start in their second game in the Olympic Qualifying tournament in Barcelona yesterday, with a goal after 15 seconds, Britain lost their way, allowing Canada to equalise in the 63rd minute and had to be satisfied with sharing the spoils.

David Whitaker, the British coach, said: "Extremely disappointing after an excellent start. Although their defence limited our penalty-corner chances we had enough opportunities to score at least three more goals."

Rob Thompson got Britain off to that lightning start following a dash down the right by Chris Mayer. Although Britain played some attractive hockey, creating a number of further opportunities, they were unable to press home the early advantage or create the penalty corners which have been so profitable in recent games.

With Howard Hoskin, the last-minute replacement for Russell Garcia, introduced into the game just before the interval, Britain clawed back the initiative from the Canadians and, in a storming few minutes at the beginning of the second half, simple chances went begging.

A harmless looking long corner from Robin D'Abreo gave Canada the equaliser with Chris Gifford getting the vital deflection. Britain's penalty-corner came a minute later but Hari Kant was equal to Calum Giles' low drag.

India, in a sparkling performance, earlier beaten the Dutch 4-1 with Dhanraj Pillay, who has English National League experience with Indian Gymkhana, scoring two spectacular goals.

GREAT BRITAIN: S Mason (Reading); J Wyatt (Reading), Soma Singh (Southgate), G Fordham ( Hounslow), Kalbir Takher (Cannock), S Hazlitt (Hounslow), C Mayer (Cannock), J Shaw (Southgate), R Thompson (Hounslow), J Laslett (Teddington, capt), N Thompson (Old Loughtonians). Substitutes used: C Giles (Havant), H Hoskin (Reading), D Hall (Guildford).

CANADA: H Kant; P Burrows (capt), R Roberts, A Brahmst, R D'Abreo, P Milkovich, R Short, B Chohan, C Gifford, A Evans, M Gacek. Substitutes used: J Desouza, K Pereira, D Harris.

Umpires: P von Reth (Neth), V Sasidharan (Malay).

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