Hockey: Bowden named captain of youthful England

Click to follow
The Independent Online
KIRSTY BOWDEN, Leicester's 20-year-old Birmingham University student, has been named as England's captain in the World Cup squad announced yesterday, writes Bill Colwill.

The selectors have backed the youth policy that the coach, Maggie Souyave, has followed since taking over the job after England's disappointing ninth place in the last World Cup in Dublin. Bowden, first capped against Russia in January 1995 at the age 16, has played 33 times for her country but has yet to score her first international goal.

The surprise omission is that of Sutton Coldfield's Olympian Mandy Davies after 161 international appearances. Her experience and gutsy determination are likely to be sorely missed when the chips are down in next month's World Cup in Utrecht with eight of the squad under 24.

With England's shortage of goalscoring potential against the top sides and with Korea, Netherlands, New Zealand and Argentina, the silver medallists from the last World Cup, in England's group, progress to the semi-finals seems unlikely.

ENGLAND SQUAD (for World Cup, Utrecht, 21 May - 1 June): K Bowden (capt), P Miller, J Mould (Leicester), J Bimson (Loughborough Stud), K Brown, M Nicholls, J Smith (Slough), M Clewlow, J Empson (Canterbury), T Cullen, C Reid (Hightown), H Rose (Univ. of Massachusetts), K Moore, F Greenham, L Wright (Olton), J Sixsmith (Sutton Coldfield).

Pool A: Australia, China, Germany, Scotland, South Africa, US. Pool B: Argentina, England, India, South Korea, Netherlands, New Zealand.

Mandy Nicholls scored four times as Slough beat Doncaster 7-2 in the quarter-finals of the EHA Cup, but will miss out on future rounds because of England selection. Hightown captain Tina Cullen is in the same situation, but scored twice in a 4-1 win against Sutton Coldfield.