Hockey: Mason builds England hopes

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The Independent Online
ENGLAND took a major step towards securing their future in the top bracket of world hockey when they beat Malaysia 3-1 in their last pool game in the World Cup here yesterday. They are now likely to play Canada in the first fifth-eighth place play-off match.

Yesterday's game hinged on a series of timely saves by the goalkeeper Simon Mason and the specialist penalty corner shooting of Calum Giles, who is almost certainly playing in his last England tournament. Giles, making his 50th appearance for England, took his goal tally to 48 as he put England ahead in the 16th minute. Although Malaysia equalised before the interval, England regained the lead 17 minutes into the second half when Jason Lee picked up a Giles rebound to score.

Earlier England had struggled to stay in the game and only Mason saved the day. With just eight minutes remaining Mark Pearn put the game beyond Malaysia's grasp when he drilled his way through a packed defence to score a brilliant goal.

"We are still very much on course for our rescheduled target for this event after we lost our first two games," the coach, Barry Dancer, said, referring to the hopes of finishing in the first six to compete in the elite Champions' Trophy in Lahore at the end of October.

ENGLAND: S Mason (Reading); B Garrard (Teddington), J Wyatt (Reading), J Halls (HDM), A Humphrey (Cannock); D Woods (Southgate), J Pidcock (Cannock), N Thompson (Old Loughtonians); B Sharpe (Cannock), R Garcia (HDM; capt) J Lee (Old Loughtonians). Substitutes used: M Pearn (Reading ), C Giles (Southgate), J Wallis (Teddington).

Malaysia: P Lopez; L Abu Hassan, N Haji Bakar, Maninderjit Sungh, C Fernandez; K Shanmuganathan, S Ramu, C Abdul Aziz; N S Nasiruddin (capt), K Muniandy, M Nawawi. Substitutes used: K Kali Kavandan, B Siva, Aphthar Singh, A Anthonisamy.