Hockey: England humbled by 'lethal' Australia

England 0 Australia 10
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The Independent Online
Australia, in the first of their two-match Test series, inflicted the worst-ever defeat on England here last night, doubling their previous best of 5-0 in Berlin two years ago.

England opened brightly in the torrential rain, creating a number of half chances and wasting a penalty corner when Paul Lewis was penalised for delaying a free hit.

Australia, having survived the opening onslaught, broke away in the 12th minute to win a penalty corner. Although David Luckes saved Greg Corbitt's initial shot Stephen Davies was on hand to score.

England returned to the attack with Danny Hall having a crashing shot nonchalantly parried by Damon Diletti in the Australian goal. Australia showed their skills at making room for themselves with their second goal from Matthew Smith, tapping in at close range after Paul Lewis had made the running. Three minutes later David Wansbrough burst through from the back to score a solo goal.

Jeremy Hiskins took the score to 4-0 at the interval, with England squandering two penalty corners in overtime under the new rule which requires them to be completed.

The second half was all one-way traffic as the Australians entertained the rain-sodden crowd to a display of high-class attacking hockey worthy of the Olympic bronze medallists.

The goals came at regular intervals with Davies completing his hat-trick, Smith collecting a second with Paul Lewis, Brendan Garard and Paul Gaudoin getting in on the bandwagon. A disappointed England coach Dick Clarke, almost speechless, said: "We lost the ball in key places and they punished us. Their finishing was lethal."

ENGLAND: D Luckes (East Grinstead); A Humphrey (Cannock), J Wyatt (Reading), J Halls (Old Loughtonians), B Waugh (Southgate); N Thompson (Old Loughtonians), J Pidcock (Cannock), B Sharpe (Cannock), B Crutchley (Cannock), R Garcia (HDM, capt), D Hall (Guildford). Substitutes used: C Mayer (Cannock), D Woods (Southgate), C Giles (Klein Zwitserland), S Mason (Reading), G Fordham (Hounslow).

AUSTRALIA: L Dreher; S Carruthers, M York; P Gaudoin, D Wansbrough, M Smith, J Hiskins, J Stacy, S Davies, P Lewis, D Sproule. Substitutes used: G Corbitt, D Diletti, B. Garard.

Umpires: N Brooks and N Lockhart (England).

England's Under-21 team entertain Germany, Ireland and Belgium in a four nations tournament, starting this afternoon at Milton Keynes, as part of their final preparations for next month's Junior World Cup at the National Stadium.

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