Hockey: Britain fired up for Test

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The Independent Online


Great Britain go into this morning's first Test against Egypt in Cairo in buoyant mood following their 5-2 win on Monday against Egypt Air, a side which included eight current internationals.

Particularly satisfying was the fact that four of the goals came from open play and that Britain also created numerous penalty-corner chances. David Whittle, the manager, said yesterday: "The squad played some attractive hockey, creating many chances, but most importantly we blew the cobwebs away very nicely."

Jason Laslett, Britain's captain, added: "Egypt Air were very fast, skilful and a lively side. I felt ours was a promising performance." No injuries have been reported, so today's starting line-up is expected to be the same as for Monday's game, with no place for Southgate's Soma Singh, England's captain in last summer's European Cup.

With Kalbir Takher playing well in the centre-half position, Singh will have to contest one of the full-back positions, which on current form are occupied by Reading's Jon Wyatt alongside Julian Halls. Up front, Laslett seems to have settled for the inside-left role, with Russell Garcia earning his chance at inside right.

Britain have won their only two previous encounters against the Egyptians, both 2-0, with the last being at the Barcelona Olympics.

Recently, Egypt finished second to South Africa in the African Games and with the temperature expected to be above the 20C mark, Egypt will be formidable opposition. The teams play again tomorrow.

GREAT BRITAIN: S Mason (Firebrands); J Wyatt (Reading), J Halls (Old Loughtonians); G Fordham (Hounslow), Kalbir Takher (Cannock), S Hazlitt (Hounslow); C Mayer (Cannock), R Garcia (Polo Barcelona), R Thompson (Hounslow), J Laslett (Teddington, capt), N Thompson (Old Loughtonians). Substitutes: D Luckes (East Grinstead, gk), C Giles (Havant), Soma Singh, J Shaw (both Southgate), D Hall (Guildford).