Commonwealth Games: Hockey: Sharpe's hat-trick blunts Pakistan

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The Independent Online
BEN SHARPE lived up to his name as he scored a brilliant opportunist hat-trick to keep England's men on course for a medal yesterday. A tempestuous match saw Pakistan at one point reduced to eight players as they lost their cool in the steamy Bukit Jalil stadium after having three men sent off in a dramatic second-half.

Two minutes from time the Pakistan goalkeeper, Ahmed Alam, was also dismissed after a furious protest over a penalty corner in which he ripped off his helmet and booted it 30-yards, rugby-style, towards the main stand. His stick followed a similar flight path and, with a substitute keeper in position, Sharpe then popped up to score his third goal just seconds from the end. In the semi-final play-off they now face either Canada or Malaysia.

Tina Cullen, the Hightown striker who missed the World Cup after suffering a fractured jaw in a practice game against Australia, scored four times yesterday as England's women won their final pool game 6-0 against Wales to reach the semi-finals on Saturday.

Although currently leading the pool with 13 points, England might finish in second place should South Africa win their match against New Zealand today. Then they would meet Australia, who will be top of the other pool.

If England finish top, they would face the winner of the match today between India and Scotland.