Hockey: Wood satisfied with England's showing

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The Independent Online

Malcolm Wood declared himself satisfied with England's short trip to Barcelona following their two victories in the Three Nations Tournament. "We were able to recognise and exploit weakness in both Spain and Poland," said the chief coach.

"We restricted their scoring opportunities and created many ourselves. We didn't take as many as I would have liked against Spain. More importantly, with the World Cup only a few weeks away, we have put up major markers.'' Indeed, Poland, whom England beat 5-1 in their first game, will be England's first opponents in the World Cup in Malaysia at the end of next month.

Against Spain, England were forced to leave out Dave Mathews, their hat-trick scorer in the Polish game, with a recurrence of his back injury and Craig Parnham, with a slight ankle injury suffered after the Poland game. Parnham made an encouraging return to international duty after his near-fatal throat injury suffered against Pakistan in the summer in Kuala Lumpur. Mathews, who has now scored 15 goals in his 23 international appearances, returns to England for a scan on his back today.

Having missed a couple of simple chances to take the lead against Spain, England trailed to a Xavi Arnau goal after careless play in midfield. Danny Hall equalised for England seven minutes into the second half following a charge down by Guy Fordham at a Spanish penalty corner and a quick English counter-attack.

England's winner came with just 40 seconds remaining. Tom Bertram's shot, from England's only penalty corner of the game, was blocked by the Spanish goalkeeper but fell to Ben Sharpe to volley home.

In the senior men's tournament, Cannock finished in second place to Polo Barcelona, the host side, after the teams drew 1-1 in the final game played in warm sunshine and before live television cameras. Chris Mayer gave Cannock a good start with a second-minute goal after a good ball from Simon Organ only to allow Polo to equalise four minutes later.

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