Hockey: England overcome Welsh grit

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The Independent Online

It was a day of contrasting performances for England's teams in the AstroTurf European Nations Cup here yesterday. The women continued their impressive form when they overcame stubborn Welsh resistance to win their third game 5-0.

However, the men's inconsistent form continued as they suffered their first defeat at the hands of Scotland since 1974. Scotland deserved their 2-1 win, defending in depth and counter attacking with purpose to overcome an England midfield which on the day was virtually non existent.

After a cat and mouse opening session Scotland's Jon Christie found himself behind the England defence to win a penalty stroke which Andrew Sewnauth converted in the 26th minute. Within four minutes England were on terms, Danny Hall scoring from their fourth penalty corner. Scotland's winning goal came in the 52nd. minute. A flowing move was started in midfield by Niall Stott, with David Ralph getting the final touch after Simon Mason had saved well from Christie.

It was not until the 28th minute that England's women finally opened up the Welsh defence in which goalkeeper Michelle Thomas was outstanding. At their second penalty corner Jane Smith found her shot charged down by Lucie Beim. However, the alert Smith managed to get in a reverse stick shot which broke the deadlock to send England into the interval with a narrow 1-0 lead. Thereafter England goals came at regular intervals.