Hockey: Australia triumph as Britain run out of gas

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AUSTRALIA retained the women's NCM Champions Trophy when they beat the Netherlands 4-2 on penalty strokes following a 1-1 draw in a rousing final yesterday, writes Peter Colwill from Amsterdam.

Alyson Annan put Australia ahead in the 16th minute with a well-flicked penalty corner but the Netherlands equalised five minutes into the second half when Cecile Vinke followed up Frederiek Grijpma's penalty corner shot.

It was a disappointing finish for Britain who lost 1-0 to Spain in the fifth-place match. Spain had conceded 23 goals while losing their five earlier matches, including a 2-0 defeat by Britain, but lifted themselves sufficiently to look the better side in a poor match.

Sonia De Ignacio, a talented defender who looked out of place on the right wing, scored the only goal with a flicked penalty corner 14 minutes into the second half. De Ignacio should have added another five minutes from the end but mis-hit in front of an open goal.

The British cause was not helped by the absence of Gillian Messenger and Sue Fraser with food poisoning and the early loss of Lucy Youngs with a badly cut hand. Jenny Cardwell, the British manager, said: 'We could not find enough gas and simply did not play the game on the move.'

Chances did fall to Britain. Sally Gibson, the leading British scorer, had an early shot well saved and set up Pauline Robertson who could not find the power to finish.

GREAT BRITAIN: T Robb (Glasgow Western); J Atkins (Bradford, capt); A Swindlehurst (Clifton), L Watkin (First Personnel), C Cook (Hightown); P Robertson (Edinburgh), K Johnson (Leicester), S Wright (Slough); L Youngs (Ipswich), S Gibson (Trojans), S MacDonald (Glasgow Western). Substitutes used: J Smith (Chelmsford), M Davies (First Personnel).

SPAIN: M De Murguira de Marinez; C Barea; C Martin, S Barrio, C Gonzalez; B Larzabal, V Ramirez (capt), A Rodriguez; S De Ignacio, I Imbers, E Goicoechea. Substitutes used: E Yarza, F Lasso.

Umpires: P Buckley (Aus) and L Crespo (Arg).