Hockey: Blanks' pace rolls Royce's Britain over Americans

Great Britain 2 USA 1
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The Independent Online
GREAT BRITAIN completed their expected whitewash of the visiting Americans when they won the third Test here at the National Stadium yesterday. It was the least convincing of the three victories against a US side which is certain to have quite a number of changes before their return in March for the Olympic qualifying tournament.

Although Britain started with a bang, winning four early penalty corners, without Jane Smith on the pitch their corner drill looked far from impressive. The opening goal came in the 25th minute following a dash down the right wing from Sarah Blanks, who pulled the ball back to Lucilla Wright to put Britain ahead. The half ended with Hilary Rose making two fine saves from an American penalty corner.

With the speed of Blanks and Jane Sixsmith providing all manner of problems for the US defence, it was no surprise when Britain's second goal arrived, a repeat of the first, following a 40-yard dash by Blanks again along the back line to find Wright waiting to score her second.

Confusion in the British defence allowed Cindy Werley to score a messy goal four minutes from time to provide a hectic final period in which both sides might have scored.

Britain's coach, Jon Royce, felt that his team has made progress during the series. He also paid tribute to the Americans, singling out the way they defended in depth which made scoring difficult.

The series had gone much as Royce had expected: "I have not changed my mind much." Of yesterday's game he said: "The conversion rate was not high enough." Royce expects to announce later this week the squads for tours to Barcelona and South Africa in the New Year.

GREAT BRITAIN: H Rose (England); J Jacks (capt, Scotland), K Walsh, M Clewlow, K Johnson; K Bowden, S Chandler, H Richardson; J Sixsmith, L Wright, L King (all England). Substitutes used: T Robb, E Rochlin (both Scotland), S Blanks, J Smith, D Marston-Smith (all England).

USA: L Cellucci; J Reeve; C DeBow, C Tagliente, A Lucas; K James, T Fuchs (capt), T Larson; M Vizzuso, C Werley, J Toepel. Substitutes used: N Pelligren, M Smith, C Sommer, J Wihrow and K Kauffman.

Umpires: J Duncan (Sco), M Brainard (US).

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