England strategy pays off

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The Independent Online

The decision of the England coach, Maggie Souyave, to ring the changes in the third of their Test matches against the Dutch yesterday paid off with an extremely creditable draw, writes Bill Colwill from Vlissingen.

England, who drew the first Test 3-3 on Friday and were then trounced 5-2 on Saturday, rose to the challenge in the southern Dutch port, witnessing international hockey for the first time. Before a large holiday crowd England gave a determined performance against a technically gifted side who mixed their traditional hard-running game with some delightful close skills.

Facing a side whose captain, Wietske de Ruiter, had scored six goals in the previous two games, Souyave switched to a counter-attacking style and stifled the threat by playing Karen Brown deep in midfield and Chris Cook at centre-back.

The Dutch dominated the first half in which England goalkeeper Jo Thompson made two great saves to keep her side on level terms. The visitors failed at two penalty corners early in the second half but were soon back on their heels.

Fending off seven penalty corners with great skill, their resolution was very nearly rewarded with an unexpected victory at the end through a break by Jane Sixsmith.

NETHERLANDS: J Toxopeus; M Vosseh; I Appels, D van der Boogard, M Derks; J Lewin, F Steenberghe, H Teeuwen; M Donners, W de Ruiter (capt), C Vinke.

ENGLAND: J Thompson (Ipswich); L Bayliss (First Personnel Sutton Coldfield); L Youngs (Ipswich), C Cook (Hightown), S Lister (capt, Ipswich); S Wright (Slough), K Brown (Slough), T Miller (Clifton), J Sixsmith (First Personnel Sutton Coldfield) J Smith (Ipswich), M Nicholls (Slough). Substitutes not used: H Rose (Ipswich), F Lee (Hightown), T Cullen (Hightown).

Umpires: G Spitaleri and C D'Alberto (Italy).