Hockey: Thompson's goals flatter England

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The Independent Online


England continued their build-up for next month's European Cup in Dublin with two workmanlike wins against Wales at Bisham Abbey yesterday, but clearly have a lot of work to do if they are to take the European title and, with it, qualification for Britain for the Atlanta Olympics.

Once again it was Rob Thompson, dropped from England's World Cup squad, who did the damage against Wales. He scored both goals in the 2-0 win in the first game and it was the Hounslow striker who opened the scoring in the second which England went on to win 5-1.

With Russell Garcia looking more comfortable in the left-half role, England dominated the midfield. After Thompson's ninth-minute goal, Calum Giles, their set-piece specialist, scored twice from penalty corners and Garcia converted a third with John Shaw completing the scoring, following up a fine shot from Kalbir Tahker and an equally good save from Kevin Priday. Richard Markham, the Wales striker, scored a late consolation.

David Whittle, the England manager, was pleased with the weekend's work. "We were not at our best but it was two useful wins," he said. "We are likely to face a more testing time next weekend in the Netherlands before we depart for Dublin."

ENGLAND: D Luckes; J Wyatt, J Halls; S Hazlitt, Soma Singh (capt), R Garcia; C Mayer, J Laslett, R Thompson, Kalbir Takher, N Thompson. Substitutes used: C Giles, B Sharpe, J Shaw.

WALES: K Priday; P Edwards; Z Jones, M Williamson, T Colclough; O Jones, T Moore, D Hacker (capt), I Hughes-Rowlands; R Markham, W Abdo. Substitutes used: C O'Sullivan, J Rees, A Grimes.

Umpires: D Collier (Eng) and A Brannis (Wal).