Hockey: Potter forced to withdraw from Irish game: Whitaker gives England youth its day against Ireland as Sutton steps up from the Under-21s

Click to follow
The Independent Online
JON POTTER, England's captain, last night withdrew on medical advice from this afternoon's international, the 83rd meeting between England and Ireland, at Stantonbury, Milton Keynes.

Even without Potter, the game can be expected to provide England with their 55th success since the teams first met at Richmond in 1895 in England's first international appearance.

On that first occasion England won 5-0, with Wimbledon's Stanley Christopherson scoring three times from open play. The margin today might be similar but it is unlikely that any hat-trick would come from open play - much more likely to come from the stick of the penalty corner specialist, Rob Hill.

When the teams met in Dublin last June, England won 4-1 with Hill scoring twice.

For the first time since David Whitaker returned as the England and Great Britain coach earlier this year, he has been able to select from a full squad. He has included three from the England Under-21 team which finished fifth in last month's World Cup in Spain with a first cap going to 20-year-old Matthew Sutton.

Sutton, who gave a string of impressive performances at left-half, is joined by Simon Nicklin and Rowan Davis, both previously capped by England. Sutton becomes the 29th player to have been selected by Whitaker for the 10 games since his return.

The Irish, in the middle of their Centenary Celebrations, disappointingly failed in Poznan to qualify for next year's World Cup in Sydney. Surprisingly their Dutch coach, Cees Koppelaar, has selected the same squad for today's encounter, which includes 31-year- old Jimmy Kirkwood, who won an Olympic gold medal with Great Britain at the Seoul Games.

The Nastro Azzurro South Premier League programme starts today with Dave Finkel, the 23-year- old captain of the US national side, lining up for Hampstead and Westminster in their home fixture against Dulwich.

ENGLAND: J Shaw (capt, Southgate), R Crutchley, R Thompson (Hounslow), R Hill, S Rowlands, D Williams (Havant), P McGuire, S Nicklin, J Laslett (Teddington), J Halls (Old Loughtonians), D Luckes (East Grinstead), R Davis (Harleston Magpies), A Humphrey (Welton), M Sutton (Bournville), C Mayer (Cannock).

IRELAND: M Sloan (capt, Cookstown), I Bateman (Cork Harlequins), R Geddis, A Dowd, J Kirkwood, D Clarke, R Taylor (Lisnagarvey), A Dunne (Cork Church of Ireland), C Hale (Dublin YMCA), P Holloway (Instonians), R Johnson, R Madeley (Three Rock Rovers), D McAnulty (Banbridge), E Lutton (Newry Olympic), G Sterritt (Cliftonville).