Hockey: England show fighting quality: England defeat Olympic champions twice in successive days

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The Independent Online
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DAVID WHITAKER, England's new coach, marked his return to the international arena with two victories over Germany, the Olympic champions, at the weekend.

On Saturday in Celle, goals from Rob Hill, Rupert Welch and Phil McGuire helped England fight back from an early goal to win 3-1. Yesterday in Hanover, England staged an even better recovery, winning 3-2 after trailing 2-0 at the interval.

Although both sides were below full strength and rebuilding for next year's World Cup in Sydney, it was an encouraging result for England who introduced four new caps during the two games and showed a new confidence, with Hill continuing the scoring form he showed for Great Britain in the lead up to the Olympics and in Spain.

Germany, smarting from Saturday's defeat, took the lead in the 15th minute from Freddie Ness's penalty corner. It looked ominous when Uli Kraus scored another after 25 minutes but, in a splendid second-half rally, Hill put England back into the game with a high flick in the 52nd minute. Five minutes later his well placed free hit was converted by the England captain, John Shaw, for the equaliser before Hill scored the winner in the 62nd minute to give England their first wins over Germany since the World Cup semi- finals in London in 1986.

GERMANY: M Knauth; F Ness; C Stengler, J Fischer, K Hollensteiner; S Tewes (capt), C Mayerhofer, M Green; A Schiefer, S Saliger, M Waldhauser. Substitutes used: F Hartkopl, U Kraus, B Michel, A Schroder.

ENGLAND: J Barrow (Hounslow); R Hill (Havant), J Halls (Old Loughtonians); S Hazlitt (Hounslow), J Laslett (Teddington), A Degun (Barford Tigers); J Lee (East Grinstead), R Garcia (Havant), J Shaw (capt) (Southgate), S Nicklin (Slough), D Williams (Havant). Substitutes used: K Takher (Cannock), R Welch (Southgate), R Crutchley (Hounslow), P McGuire (Teddington).

Umpires: P von Reth and E van Putten (Neth).

Gloucester City and Oxford University qualified for the PizzaExpress National League after victories in yesterday's National Inter-League play-offs at Olton. Gloucester beat Brean 2-0 through goals by Mark Pearn and Trevor Done while Oxford defeated Chelmsford 4-1 to become the first university side to reach the National League. Adam Laird completed a 21-minute hat- trick for Oxford.