Hockey: Britain face uphill battle to qualify

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The Great Britain coach, Tricia Heberle blamed bad defensive lapses in the first half for their 2-1 defeat by Germany in Auckland yesterday in their second game of the Olympic qualifying tournament. The result probably leaves Britain facing two must-win play-off games next weekend if they are to qualify for the Athens Olympics.

Nadine Erstine-Krienke put Germany ahead after seven minutes, before Anke Kühn made it two in the 24th minute. A well-worked penalty corner four minutes later saw Rachel Walker halve the deficit, but although Britain dominated from then on they couldn't break down the German defence.

Domestically, Reading retained their two-point lead over Cannock at the top of the Premier Division, after Jonty Clarke's goal two minutes from time sealed a 3-2 over Guildford.

Hounslow and Ealing, one of the founder members of the National League, scored three goals in the first nine minutes against Leek but couldn't hold on, eventually drawing 3-3 and surrendering their National League status in the process.

Meanwhile Hightown, with a 4-2 win at Canterbury, moved four points clear at the top of the Women's Premier Division.

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