Hockey: Men and women forget their lines

OLYMPIC GAMES
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The Independent Online
Great Britain's men and women missed excellent opportunities yesterday when they were both held to 2-2 draws, the men by Malaysia and the women by Spain, the defending Olympic champions who, with a dogged display, won their first point of the competition.

Overnight rain and a 9am start gave the women the luxury of a spring- like day with a gentle breeze. The British players opened brightly before falling back into old habits of missing chances and giving away passes before a late rally brought the equaliser.

Scotland's Sue Fraser gave Britain the lead in the 17th minute at their second penalty corner with a low drive. Within five minutes Spain were on terms when their captain, Natalia Dorado, beat Hilary Rose with a similar shot from their second penalty corner.

After Kath Johnson had hit the upright with a powerful drive Spain, always looking dangerous on the break, won a penalty corner through Magore Gabellanes 20 minutes into the second half and, although Rose saved well from Dorado, Gabellanes jabbed home in the ensuing scramble.

With the forwards unable to make much impression, it was left to Fraser, coming up from full-back, to win a penalty corner. Her initial shot was blocked by the goalkeeper, but the ball fell to Johnson to sink the equaliser with four minutes remaining.

Great Britain's men wasted the chance to take over the leadership of Pool B last night when they were held by Malaysia after going a goal behind in the second minute to a Nor Nasiruddin penalty corner.

Britain fought back with second-half goals from John Shaw and a penalty corner from Calum Giles in a splendid attacking performance after the interval, only to lose concentration in the last minute to concede a penalty corner which Magmar Singh slammed past Simon Mason for the equaliser.

In the closing seconds Britain were awarded a sixth penalty corner but, with the Malaysians breaking ranks they were not allowed to take it and the game ended in complete confusion.

GREAT BRITAIN Women: H Rose (Sutton Canada Life); J Atkins (Bradford, capt), S Fraser (Bonagrass Grove), K Brown (Slough), K Johnson (Balsam Leicester), P Robertson (Edinburgh), M Davies (Sutton Canada Life), T Miller (Clifton), J Sixsmith (Sutton Canada Life), R Simpson (Edinburgh), A Bennett (Slough). Substitutes used: M Nicholls (Slough), C Cook (Hightown), T Cullen (Hightown).

GREAT BRITAIN Men: S Mason (Reading); J Halls (Old Loughtonians), J Wyatt (Reading), P McGuire (Teddington), Kalbir Takher (Cannock), Soma Singh (Southgate), C Mayer (Cannock), R Garcia (Polo Barcelona), J Lee (Old Loughtonians), J Laslett (Teddington, capt), N Thompson (Old Loughtonians). Substitutes used: C Giles (Havant), S Hazlitt (Hounslow), J Shaw (Southgate), D Hall (Guildford).

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