Hockey: Brown caps record year with award

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Karen Brown, at present touring with the England side in Australia, was yesterday named UK Player of the Year in a presentation at Kettners restaurant in Soho, London. Jon Wyatt, the 24-year-old Reading and England defender, took the men's award.

For both, 1997 was quite a year. The 35-year-old Brown became the world's most capped hockey player when she played against the United States in the Champions Trophy in Berlin in June. She also played a leading role in the Slough side which won the National Indoor and Outdoor titles and a fourth place in the European Indoor Club Championship. Her total international appearances now stand at 309 with this year's World Cup and Commonwealth Games still to come.

Wyatt, who has lottery fund assistance and sponsorship from Slazenger's, is currently taking a nine-month sabbatical with a target of adding to his already considerable achievements.

Last year Wyatt led Reading to a National League title, a Cup final appearance and the silver medal in the European Cup-Winners' Cup. His captaincy skills also extended to the England national side, for whom he has already made more than 70 appearances.

Barry Fry, the Peterborough United FC manager who presented the awards and had been an interested spectator at the recent Junior World Cup at Milton Keynes, suggested that football might well follow hockey's innovation by withdrawing the offside rule.

John Flack, a freelance writer from Northern Ireland contributing to the Sunday Life, was named the winner of the Chris Moore Memorial Regional Hockey Writer of the Year.

- Bill Colwill