Hockey: England to experiment

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The Independent Online
DAVID WHITAKER has named four uncapped players in an experimental squad to face the Olympic champions, Germany, twice this weekend, writes Bill Colwill.

For his first full England selection since returning as national coach, Whitaker decided against calling on Hounslow's Jon Potter, Paul Bolland and Rob Thompson, who will be preparing for their European Cup competition at Easter, and Chris Mayer and Simon Triggs are injured. The untried four are goalkeeper Jason Barrow and Rob Crutchley, from Hounslow, and two exciting players from the Midlands, Kalbir Takhar from Cannock, and Amarjit Degun from Barford Tigers.

There have also been recalls after a lengthy absence for Simon Hazlitt, Rupert Welch, Philip McGuire and Julian Halls. Eight players survive from the Barcelona Olympics.

The Germans will be without at least nine Olympians. Volker Fried, Carsten Fischer, Andreas Keller, Michael Metz and Michael Hilgers have retired, Christian Blunck is in Australia and three are on a club tour.

ENGLAND SQUAD (v Germany, Celle, 3 March, and Hanover, 4 March): J Shaw (capt), R Welch (Southgate), R Hill, R Garcia, D Williams (Havant), S Hazlitt, J Barrow, R Crutchley (Hounslow), J Lee, D Luckes (E Grinstead), J Laslett, P McGuire (Teddington), K Takhar (Cannock), J Halls (Old Loughtonians), A Degun (Barford Tigers), S Nicklin (Slough).

ALL ENGLAND WOMEN'S HOCKEY ASSOCIATION CUP, semi-final draw: Ipswich v Ealing; Leicester Balsam v First Personnel Sutton Coldfield. Matches to be played on Sunday 18 April.