Hockey: Due reward for Johnson

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The Independent Online
Bobby Crutchley and Kath Johnson, two players with totally different international fortunes during 1996, yesterday won their respective "Player of the Year" awards, writes Bill Colwill.

Johnson, the rugged Balsam Leicester defender who retired from the international scene in 1995 after the birth of her first child, was persuaded to return to bolster Great Britain's defence at the Atlanta Olympics, and played a key role in her team reaching the semi-finals.

Sadly, the fairy-tale ended in the bronze medal match when Johnson's penalty stroke against the Dutch was easily saved, and Britain had to settle for fourth place.

The 26-year-old Crutchley, in spite of finishing as the leading scorer in the Australian, English and Italian leagues in the previous 12 months, was overlooked by Great Britain for Atlanta.

Crutchley's phenomenal scoring has continued in this season's National League, where he currently leads the way with 31 in 14 outings for the leaders, Cannock. Now it would be unthinkable for England to go to the Five Nations tournament in Islamabad in March - to celebrate Pakistan's golden jubilee - without him.