Hockey: Keepers defy Australians

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The Independent Online
England women 2

Australia women 0

THE WEATHER might have changed at Milton Keynes yesterday on the third day of the World Invitational Tournament but England's enterprising hockey continued to pay dividends as the women lowered the colours of Australia - the Olympic, World and Commonwealth Champions - in a well- deserved 2-0 victory whilst the men destroyed Poland 6-1. The men will today play Germany in the final while the women, in spite of their fine win, will play Spain for the bronze medal.

England's women started positively, carrying the game to the Australians at speed. The match nevertheless almost certainly hinged on two outstanding goalkeeping saves.

In the first half, shortly after England's opening goals, Hilary Rose blocked Julie Towers at the top of the circle. In the second half, in a similar situation, the substitute keeper Carolyn Reid brilliantly raced to the top of her circle to save from Alyson Annan just as the Australians were working their way back into the game.

Jane Sixsmith, aiming for her fourth Olympic Games in Sydney, opened the scoring for England in the 10th minute following good work by Lisa King, who had an impressive game leading the attack. Australia stormed back but were unable to break down a resolute English defence in which Mel Clewlow was always in the thick of the fray. England went further ahead after 24 minutes when Tina Cullen scored from England's second penalty corner, pushing home a return pass from Jane Smith.

For Australia, Rechelle Hawkes, their captain winning her 250th cap, was always in the thick of the contest but yesterday had to settle for second best.

England's men had a tremendous first half against Poland with Calum Giles and Russell Garcia both scoring twice before the interval as they set up a 4-0 lead. Although England went off the boil in the second half, allowing Poland to pull a goal back, they were still able to score two more goals - Tom Bertram striking at a penalty corner and Guy Fordham spectacularly adding to the lead. Their coach Barry Dancer was pleased with the result but disgusted with the second half. "We established our position and then got too comfortable," he said.

England Men: D Luckes (East Grinstead); A Humphrey (Cannock), J Halls (Cannock), J Wyatt ( Reading), T Bertram (Bournville); J Wallis (Teddington), B Garrard (Teddington), R Garcia Capt. ( Harvestehuder, Hamburg); G Fordham (Hounslow), D Hall (Guildford), C Giles (Surbiton). Substitutes used: M Johnson (Cannock), B Sharpe (Cannock), J Bell (Brooklands) & S Head (East Grinstead).

England Women: H Rose (Sutton Coldfield); K Walsh (Hightown), M Clewlow (Canterbury), F Greenham (Slough), L Catchpole (Ipswich); J Empson (Canterbury), S Chandler (Slough), K Brown Capt. (Slough); J Sixsmith (Sutton Coldfield), L King (Ipswich), T Cullen (Hightown). Substitutes used: C Reid (Hightown), J Smith (Slough), M Nicholson (Slough), L Wright (Olton) & H Richardson (Fyffes Leicester).