Hockey: England recover pride

England 3 Australia 4
Click to follow
The Independent Online
In a match of rare excitement, England's recovery from Thursday's shattering and humiliating 10-0 defeat by Australia at Basingstoke was little less than remarkable. The only disappoint- ment in their performance on Saturday was that they were unable to hold on to a 3-1 interval advantage.

The remarkable comeback started in the third minute when Calum Giles - England's penalty corner specialist - recaptured his Olympic and European Cup form to score at his first attempt.

Although Australia struck back through Jay Stacy in the 10th minute, Giles was on song again a minute later from England's second corner and then, after Lachlan Dreher had made a great low-stick save from another, he could do no better than block another in the 25th minute when Bobby Crutchley slipped the ball in to give England a 3-1 lead which they took into the interval.

Finding themselves in the unaccustomed position of being behind, Australia's second-half fightback was aided by a 10-minute suspension of Jon Wyatt during which time Matthew Smith caught the makeshift defence off-balance to pull back a goal 14 minutes after the interval. An equaliser was always on the cards as England tired and Jeremy Hiskins obliged in the 63rd minute after Australia had won a string of penalty corners.

With just four minutes remaining, Stephen Davies celebrated his 200th international appearance with a spectacular goal from the edge of the circle to put a break on England's possible celebrations. There was still time for a last-minute Giles' penalty-corner attempt but this time the Australian defence held firm.

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

AUSTRALIA: L Dreher; J Duff, M York (capt), J Hiskins, D Wansbrough, D Sproule, M Smith, J Stacy, S Davies, B Garard, P Lewis. Substitutes used: P Gaudoin, G Corbitt, J Elmer.

Umpires: P Elders, P Schellekens (Neth).