Dutch end Britain's winning run

HOCKEY Great Britain 0 The Netherlands 1
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The Independent Online
Great Britain 0 The Netherlands 1

The Netherlands won the Abbey National Challenge at the National Stadium in Milton Keynes on Saturday beating Great Britain 1-0 with a 54th-minute goal by their captain, Wietske de Ruiter.

Ellen Kuipers carved the opening in the British defence and although Jo Thompson did well to save Suzan van der Wielen's shot, she was helpless as De Ruiter followed up to end Britain's 17-match run without defeat.

Britain enjoyed their best period in the first 20 minutes with Jane Sixsmith, who was winning her 100th British cap, posing several problems for the Dutch defence. Thereafter although Britain maintained their share of possession, and defended with skill and resolve, their forwards lacked the penetration to trouble the Netherlands rearguard in which the sweeper Noor Holsboer was outstanding.

Sue Fraser came closest to scoring for Britain with a flick at their second and final penalty corner in the 11th minute which was denied by an agile save by Jacqueline Toxopeus.

At the other end a well-placed shot by De Wilen was kept out by a magnificent save by Thompson at full stretch and with five minutes remaining it needed a goal-line save by Karen Brown to deny De Ruiter at the third Dutch penalty corner.

Hightown, the European Cup Winners winners, won the Premier Division of the Women's National League beating Doncaster 1-0 on Saturday.

Tina Cullen, the all-time leading goalscorer clinched the title with a 43rd-minute strike.

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