Hockey: Grant helps England to bronze

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THE ENGLAND Under-21 side returned from the Czech Republic yesterday with a bronze medal to show for their efforts at the European Indoor Championships, but as the debate on the value of the indoor game continues, there is no certainty they will compete in future competitions of that sort.

England beat the hosts 5-1 in the third-place play-off with Helen Grant scoring four times and the captain, Lisa Wooding, getting the fifth. Belarus, with a 4-2 win against Lithuania - who beat England 2-1 in the semi-final - took gold.

England's route to the semi- finals was paved with pool wins against Slovakia and France. In their final pool match England were beaten 5-3 by Belarus.

In the Women's Indoor Premier play-offs at Crystal Palace, Slough beat Hightown 8-1 in the final with Jane Smith scoring three times to secure a spot for her team in next season's Euro-pean Club Championships.

Chelmsford finished runners-up with Hightown third.

There were no changes to the regional leaders over the weekend, although in the North, Formby were held to a 1-1 draw by Durham Univer-sity. The South leaders, Fareham, were beaten 2-1 at home by Tunbridge Wells with goals from Mark Elston and Matt Purchase. In the Hampshire Surrey regional league, the runaway leaders Old Georgians thrashed London University 12- 0 with Gary Notton (5), Paul Way (3) and Mahmood Bhatti (2) doing most of the damage.