Hockey: Cullen drives on England

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England 3 Canada 1

ENGLAND COMPLETED a useful hat-trick of wins against Canada at Milton Keynes yesterday as they finished their international match programme before next month's Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur. They should depart with confidence although coach Maggie Souyave would be the first to admit there is still much work to be done.

As in all the games against Canada, who are in England's pool in Malaysia, England's finishing yesterday left much to be desired. The 3-1 margin flattered the hosts, but the tenacious approach work of Tina Cullen and Mandy Nicholls, who both missed the recent World Cup because of injuries, is promising.

Cullen bamboozled the Canadian captain, Laurelee Kopek, to create the first England goal, Jane Smith taking the chance after 20 minutes, but Sue Armstrong put the visitors on terms seven minutes later when she took advantage of a careless clearance from Fiona Greenham.

England's play became ever more frantic until the 61st minute, when Sarah Blanks deflected home Greenham's shot from their seventh penalty corner to restore the lead. With six minutes remaining Cullen finished off another corner move.

Souyave paid tribute to Canada. "They defended well and made us work hard," she said. "We need to be more penetrating and more direct. We have been able to look at various options and I know the areas we have to work on before the games."

ENGLAND: C Reid (Hightown); J Empson (Canterbury), K Brown (capt, Slough), F Greenham (Olton), L Copeland (Slough); L Wright ( Olton), K Bowden (Leicester), L Newcombe (Hightown); J Sixsmith (Sutton Coldfield), M Nicholls (Slough), T Cullen (Hightown). Substitutes used: J Smith (Slough), J Mould (Leicester), J Bimpson (Olton), S Blanks (Leicester).

Canada: S Forbes; L Kopek (capt), B-J Steadward, J Wong, K MacNeill; C Hunter, C Somerville, S Tingley; S Armstrong, A MacFarlane, K Taunton. Substitutes used: A Arade, L Faust, A Grimes, M Boyer, J Zinkan-McGrade.

Umpires: G Clarke (England) and J McLintock (Canada).