Wright on target as Britain roll over Russia

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The Independent Online

Great Britain's women made just the start they wanted here yesterday when two goals from a young striker and the experience of two of their veterans helped them to a 5-0 demolition of Russia in their opening game in the Olympic qualifying tournament.

Lucilla Wright, the 20-year-old striker, scored twice but it was as much the contributions of Tina Cullen and the evergreen Jane Sixsmith, who both started in sparkling form, that kept Britain in command much to the delight of Jon Royce. The coach said: "We had a splendid start and then we rolled them back. It is always good to get the first game under your belt."

And it was equally useful for Britain to make a flying start in this match. At their first penalty corner, just three minutes into the game, the ball was switched back to Sixsmith, who smartly popped it into the roof of the net.

Although the Russians immediately drove back to win two quick penalty corners, Hilary Rose was equal to the occasion and, cheered on by a large, patriotic crowd that seemed to include a large portion of cricket's "Barmy Army", Britain returned to the attack. Wright went near twice within a minute before, in the 11th minute, Mel Clewlow set her up for her first goal.

Within a minute Cullen was driving through the Russian defence to win a penalty stroke, which she converted herself for Britain's third. Wright was on hand to pounce for Britain's fourth off the goalkeeper's pads in the 26th minute as she failed to clear Kirsty Bowden's free hit. In the 63rd minute a crashing shot from the edgeof the circle from Denise Marston-Smith completed the scoring.

Britain today face Japan, who had a surprising 4-0 win on Friday against New Zealand, one of the pre-tournament favourites to qualify.

Earlier yesterday Ireland inflicted the second successive defeat on India, with a 28th-minute goal from Rachael Kohler giving them a 1-0 victory in the other pool, while Germany came from behind to draw 1-1 with Spain.