Hockey: Hawes hat-trick puts Britain in play-offs

Great Britain 6 South Africa 0
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The Independent Online

A hat-trick from penalty corners by Ben Hawes helped Great Britain to anastonishing 6-0 victory over South Africa here yesterday, and salvaged their Olympic qualification dream.

A hat-trick from penalty corners by Ben Hawes helped Great Britain to anastonishing 6-0 victory over South Africa here yesterday, and salvaged their Olympic qualification dream.

Britain went into their final pool game at the men's Olympic qualifying competition needing to win by four clear goals to progress to the second-phase play-offs. They had achieved that feat three minutes after half-time thanks to two set-pieces from Hawes, which sandwiched an early Danny Hall goal and Mark Pearn's 38th-minute effort.

The 23-year-old Hawes completed his treble in the last minute.Seconds later Graham Moodie made it 6-0, and Britain leapfrogged South Africa to leave Poland's result against Spain in a later game irrelevant.

Britain scored twice as many goals in this game as in their four previous matches and victory in tomorrow's second-phase fixture against Belgium will put them into the fifth-place play-off, guaranteeing a berth at Athens this summer.

Britain made such a devastating start that even David Whittle, world hockey's most experienced manager, was amazed by what he saw.

He said: "In my opinion, and I've been through three Olympic campaigns, it was the best we have ever started a game - within 15 minutes we were 3-0 up. Some of the goals were outstanding, fantastic, and we have now got to build on that."

Whittle revealed prior to the game that coach Jason Lee had instructed his backroom staff to compile a video of all the goals the squad had scored during his brief five-month reign. "He showed it to them and said: 'These are the kind of goals you have been scoring for me. Go out and do it again' and I do believe they were listening," Whittle added.

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