Hockey: Sixsmith sticks to script: Peter Colwill reports from Birmingham

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The Independent Online
England. . .1

Spain. . . .0

ENGLAND, the European champions, won the Typhoo Tea Cup by beating Spain, the Olympic champions 1-0 at the Alexander Stadium in rain-drenched Birmingham which must to the visitors have seemed a long way from sun-soaked Terrassa.

The match went more or less according to script, with the local heroine Jane Sixsmith, who had featured heavily in the promotional drive, scoring the only goal 50 seconds before half-time.

It was a just reward for England's first-half dominance and for the persistance of Sixsmith who had been forced to forage deeper and deeper as a result of tight Spanish marking. Sandie Lister, who led England with great determination, picked up a loose Spanish clearance and cleverly threaded her pass through to Tina Cullen whose precise square pass set up Sixsmith. She finished decisively.

England should have increased their lead 10 minutes into the second half when Mandy Nicholls, put through by Tina Cullen, was upended in the Spanish circle, but Kathryn Johnson, who had an otherwise excellent game, placed the resulting penalty stroke wide.

With Vickey Dixon and Johnson secure at the heart of England's defence, the Spaniards threatened little while opportunities continued to arise at the other end. Sixsmith charged down a clearance, the ball falling to Cullen who shot wide, and with three minutes remaining Sixsmith was again the instigator, setting up Nicholls who swept a tame reverse stick shot at the goalkeeper.

The one disappointing aspect of England's performance was their inability to score from four penalty corners, although they did well to concede none.

In the Under-18 curtain-raiser England beat Scotland 6-2. Rebecca Millard, the England centre-back, opened with a hat-trick in the first 11 minutes, two from penalty strokes.

ENGLAND: J Thompson (Ipswich); V Dixon (Ipswich); C Cook (Hightown), K Johnson (Leicester); L Bayliss (First Personnel Sutton Coldfield), S Lister (Ipswich, capt); J Sixsmith (First Personnel Sutton Coldfield), F Lee (Hightown), M Nicholls (Ealing), T Miller (Clifton); T Cullen (Hightown). Subs used: Youngs (Ipswich), M Davies (First Personnel Sutton Coldfield), A Claxton (Leicester).

SPAIN: M Martinez de Murgia; M C Barea; S Manrique, M Telleria, S Barrio; V Ramirez, N Olive, A Maiques; N Dorado (capt), N Gabellanes, L Lopez. Subs used: M A Rodriguez, G Larrinaio.

Umpires: S Morrow (Wales) and M van Gemert (Netherlands).

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