COMMONWEALTH GAMES: Wyatt rescues England

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The Independent Online
IT MAY be clutching at straws but ten years ago in Seoul Great Britain drew their opening game 2-2 with Korea before going on to win the Olympic hockey gold medal. Yesterday in Kuala Lumpur England drew their opening game in the Commonwealth Games 1-1 with Canada. The result bitterly disappointed their coach, Barry Dancer, who said: "I expected to win. There is bitter disappointment from everybody. We started in a tentative fashion and never recovered. We lacked discipline at set pieces."

Dancer was referring in particular to an 18th minute lapse by the defence which allowed Rob Short to deflect home a free hit to give Canada the lead.

England's reply owed much to the intelligent thinking of Brett Garrard. He found himself in the unfamiliar right wing slot and sent a gentle lob goalwards which panicked the Canadian defence. Rick Roberts, trying to clear his lines, conceded a penalty stroke. Jon Wyatt stepped forward calmly to score England's equaliser in the 26th minute.

England's cause was not helped by the temporary suspension of Mark Pearn for an unnecessary tackle from behind in the second half and England were unable to score the winner their midfield supremacy deserved.

Dancer said: "We have hopefully got our first game blues out of the way." He will no doubt be worried by the form of Kenya, who were only narrowly defeated 4-5 by Pakistan in an exciting game.

ENGLAND: S Mason (Reading); B Garrard (Teddington), J Wyatt (Reading), J Halls (Cannock), B Waugh (capt, Southgate); D Woods (Southgate), J Pidcock (Cannock), R Garcia (Harvestuder, Hamburg); B Sharpe (Cannock), B Crutchley (Cannock), M Pearn (Reading). Substitutes used: J Wallis (Teddington), S Head (East Grinstead), M Johnson (Cannock), G Fordham (Hounslow).

Canada: M Mahood; R Roberts, I Bird, B Kullar, R D'Abreo, P Milkovich (capt), R Short, R Jagday, K Pereira, S Mosher, P Wettlauper. Substitutes used: D Yule.

Umpires: J Wright (South Africa), D Prior (Australia).