Hockey: Britain limit the damage

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The Independent Online
Great Britain women. . .0

Australia women. . . . .2

A WELL-ORGANISED and determined, if at times physical, Great Britain restricted the defending champions, Australia, to two goals in the opening game in the Women's Six Nations Champions Trophy here yesterday. But for their pathetic penalty corner drill, Britain might have come away with at least a draw.

It was asking a lot of Britain, with five players making their first appearances, to tackle the champions who have already played 11 internationals this year. Yet in the opening exchanges Britain took the game to the Australians.

Scotland's Pauline Robertson set up a chance for Alison Swindlehurst to open the scoring. With the Australian defence static, Swindlehurst froze and shot tamely at the goalkeeper.

Britain again came close to breaking the deadlock two minutes from the interval when a weighted ball from the captain, Jill Atkins, was latched on to by Sue MacDonald, whose powerful run was only ended at the expense of another unproductive penalty corner.

The half ended with Australia opening the scoring in the closing seconds. Michelle Andrews beat the goalkeeper, Hilary Rose, after Alyson Annan had burrowed her way through the British defence.

Shortly after the restart, Britain had two half-chances before the Australians increased the pace and a period of sustained pressure led to a second goal in the 63rd minute. A long clearance was pounced on by Jackie Pereira to set-up Lisa Powell at close range.

Britain's coach, Sue Slocombe, was delighted with her team's performance after so little time together but must be concerned by an inability to score from penalty corners.

GREAT BRITAIN: H Rose (Ipswich); J Atkins (Bradford, capt); S Fraser (Glasgow Western), K Johnson (Leicester), C Cook (Hightown); P Robertson (Edinburgh), M Davies (Sutton Coldfield), S Wright (Slough), A Swindlehurst (Clifton); J Smith (Chelmsford), S MacDonald (Glasgow Western). Substitute used: S Gibson (Trojans).

Australia: K Marsden; N Peris, T Ghisalberti; R Hawkes (capt), L Tooth, A Peek; M Andrews, L Powell, K Starre, A Annan, J Pereira. Substitutes used: J Haslam, J Morris, S Carbon, S Buchannan.

Umpires: Y Hu (Ch) and L Crespo (Arg).