Hockey: New Zealand on flat rate

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The Independent Online
England XI. . . 0

New Zealand. . .0

IT WAS difficult not to feel sorry for New Zealand, en route to Barcelona for the Olympic Games, when they were beaten 4-1 by a scratch England XI on Saturday at Bisham Abbey, having arrived in Europe less than 48 hours earlier and having that morning been subjected to a two-hour training session.

That was not the case yesterday in a niggly game of hockey, arising mainly from over-zealous tackling by the Kiwis and against much the same England side but without Chris Mayer, their principal attacker from the first game. New Zealand again showed little imagination and failed to score from seven penalty corners, converting one success from 18 over the two days. Not the form to challenge for Olympic medals.

Yesterday's game started with the New Zealanders playing at breakneck speed but winning little more than a series of penalty corners which were capably dealt with by the England defence. Jason Barrow, the goalkeeper, made a number of fine saves.

England's chances were limited to the odd breakaway, usually led by the fast, elusive Paul Krishman, but they never showed a concerted effort. Howard Hoskins, replacing Paul Sheardown in the 50th minute, might have given England the lead, but the Reading winger's weak shot was easily cleared by the Kiwi goalkeeper, Scott Anderson.

The temporary suspension of the New Zealand full-back, Grant McLeod, for an off-the-ball incident with England's captain, David Faulkner, allowed England to move forward and force a couple of penalty corners, but Anderson dealt with both confidently.

As McLeod returned, Faulkner departed to the sin-bin for one of many stick-chopping incidents which had been all too familiar, to allow New Zealand to launch a final assault. The game ended with Barrow making a brilliant diving stick save from John Radovonich and Peter Daji, with an intelligent reverse flick, lofting the ball on to the roof of the net.

ENGLAND XI: J Barrow (Hounslow); M Kirkham (Slough), R Crutchley (Neston), J Chana (Cannock), D Faulkner (Havant, captain), A Degun (Barford Tigers), P Sheardown (Welton), J Pidcock (Neston), P Krishman (Old Loughtonians), C Cooper (Havant), P Capper (Formby). Substitute: H Hoskins (Reading) for Sheardown, 50.

NEW ZEALAND: I Woodley (S Anderson, 36); A Thornton, G McLeod, P Miskimmin, P Patel, B Leaver (D Penfold, 36), D Grundy (C Russ, 36), J Radovonich, P Daji (capt), J Smith, G Russ.

Umpires: R Ford (Eng) and R Parry (Eng).

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