Hockey: England give Scotland room

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THE ENGLAND women's team's hopes of retaining their Home Championship crown suffered a jolt at Cardiff yesterday when they were held to a goalless draw by a young Irish side, writes Bill Colwill. Scotland, at the beginning of their preparations for this summer's Intercontinental Cup in the United States, beat Wales 4-0 and look likely to regain the title they won in Durham in 1991.

England, fielding only two Olympians, Lisa Bayliss and Mandy Nicholls, were slow to settle against the Irish defence and failed to score from nine penalty corners, only once calling on the Irish goalkeeper, Sandra O'Gorman, to make a save.

Although England's coach, Sue Slocombe, was pleased with her team's performance, there was disappointment in the crowd that Jane Sixsmith had not been included in the squad.

WOMEN'S HOME COUNTRIES CHAMPIONSHIP (Cardiff): Wales 0 Scotland 4; England 0 Ireland 0.