Australia's fitness proves decisive

Australia 3 England 2
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The Independent Online

Jane Smith gave England a splendid start to their Korean Telecom Cup campaign in Seoul yesterday when she drilled a fourth-minute penalty corner past Australia's Olympic goalkeeper, Rachel Imison. However, within a minute, the Olympic Champions were back on terms when Julie Towers equalised at a penalty stroke, and they went on to win a hard-fought game 3-2.

Ipswich's Leisa King slotted home a cross from Anna Bennett to restore England's lead. Australia revived, with Carmel Souter equalising at a penalty corner on the half hour, and Claire Mitchell-Taverner scored the winner after 59 minutes.

England's Australian coach, Tricia Heberle, attributed England's defeat to lack of fitness. "We had a strong first-half display but we ran out of legs and, although the girls were tenacious to the end, we struggled against a fitter outfit." The coach singled out Slough's Mandy Nicholson, Olton's Rachel Walker and the captain, Sarah Blanks, for their effort.

England play China in their second game today.

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