Hockey: Crutchley's return boosts flagging English attack

Click to follow
The Independent Online
By Bill Colwill

GUY FORDHAM, the 23-year-old Army doctor from Hounslow who missed the World Cup because of exams, was yesterday recalled to the England squad for the Commonwealth Games. Bobbie Crutchley, the National League's leading goalscorer for the past three seasons who missed the World Cup through injury, also returns. There is, however, no room for Guildford's Olympian, Danny Hall, who also missed the World Cup due to exam commitments.

There are two other changes to the World Cup squad that finished sixth in Utrecht. In comes the 18-year-old Michael Johnson, and Stuart Head, aged 25. Missing are Nicky Thompson, Andy Humphry, Jason Lee and, following the change in the substitute rule, the penalty corner specialist, Callum Giles.

With the strikers unable to find the net during the recent 2-1 series defeat in South Africa - where England converted just three penalty corners from 27 attempts - there was an incentive to include Giles.

The defence will be strengthened by the recall of Julian Halls, and Justin Pitcock will give the midfield more shape. But it is the lack of goals which will be causing England's coach, Barry Dancer, most concern.

Having experienced Malaysian conditions - 10 of the squad were in Ipoh earlier this year - England's chances of a medal in the first Games to feature hockey must be good. England's main challengers in the pool games should be Pakistan, to whom they lost at the World Cup. Canada and Malaysia are also capable of providing an upset. Kenya and Bangladesh complete the six-team pool. The second pool contains Australia, India, Wales, Trinidad, New Zealand and South Africa.

ENGLAND SQUAD: B Waugh (Captain), D Woods (Southgate); S Mason, J Wyatt, M Pearn (Reading); B Garrard, J Wallis (Teddington); J Halls (HDN, The Hague); R Garcia (Harvestehuder, Hamburg); B Crutchley, J Pitcock, M Johnson, B Sharpe (All Cannock); D Luckes, S Head (East Grinstead) G Fordham (Hounslow).