Hockey: Netherlands claim title

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Netherlands 2 Germany 1

THE NETHERLANDS took their fourth European Nations Cup title in the fifth tournament here yesterday when they beat Germany 2-1 in an exciting final. Additionally they now automatically qualify for the Sydney Olympics and the 2002 World Cup in Perth.

Before a capacity crowd bathing in the hot sunshine Germany took the lead through Britta Becker's 20-minute penalty stroke. The Dutch were level within seven minutes, their captain Dillianne van den Boogaard, claiming her 11th goal to take the leading-scorer award. The game swung from end to end before the winning goal came from Mijntje Donners in the 56th minute.

Jane Sixsmith scored twice as England romped to a 5-0 victory against Russia in a game which they dominated from the moment Jane Smith put them ahead at their first penalty corner after seven minutes.

Sixsmith then got a touch to Kirsty Bowden's shot and her second came a few minutes before the interval. Two tired teams played out the second half with Tina Cullen and Mel Clewlow also scoring.

It was the experience of Sixsmith and the captain, Karen Brown, that won the day for England. Both still appear to be so crucial to Great Britain's Olympic prospects. Sixsmith announced afterwards that she had played her last match for England after 165 games and 52 goals but hoped to go to Sydney. England's Carolyn Reid won goalkeeper of the tournament.

Ireland, with a golden goal from Claire McMahon, took ninth place with a 4-3 win against France. Scotland finished sixth, being beaten by Spain 5-4 in a penalty shoot-out.

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

RUSSIA: O Boiko; N Kravtchneko; T Ioudovskaia, G Timschina, O Nikolaeva; T Vasioukova, N Dobrokhotova, I Piskounova; M Tchegourdaeva, N Tchegourdaeva Capt.,E Polovkova. Substitutes used: N Verschinina, O Velmatkina, G Bassaitchuk, I Sviridova.

Umpires: M Power (Irl) and A Royaards (Neth).