Hockey: Welch in form for further caps

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The Independent Online
DAVID WHITAKER, the coach, and David Whittle, the new manager, yesterday announced the England training squad from which they will select the team to play two internationals against the Olympic Champions, Germany, near Hanover on 3 and 4 April, writes Bill Colwill.

No players from the England Under-21 squad, who returned on Monday from their trip to India, have been included, nor have Hounslow's Jon Potter, Rob Thompson and Paul Bolland from the Great Britain Olympic squad. They will be preparing with their club for the European Cup-Winners' Cup competition in Birmingham at Easter, although three other Hounslow players have been named.

A number of players out of favour recently have been given an early opportunity to re-establish themselves and to stake a claim for next year's World Cup in Australia. Old Loughtonians' Julian Halls and Nick Thompson are two who have had an impressive National League season as has Rupert Welch, of Southgate.

The 29-year-old Welch, who won the last of his six caps in 1989, was the First Division's top scorer this season with 21 goals, and is a fearless striker in the Sean Kerly mould, who does not rely on set- pieces for his goals.

A further group, who played for England B during the past year, have been given their chance to compete for full caps, although the exciting Jas Chana, from Cannock, has not been included.

ENGLAND SQUAD: J Barrow, R Crutchley and S Hazlitt (all Hounslow), A Degun (Barford Tigers), M Bhatti, J Lee and D Luckes (all East Grinstead), J Shaw and R Welch (both Southgate), S Triggs (Canterbury), C Mayer and K Takher (both Cannock), D Williams, R Garcia and R Hill (all Havant), N Thompson and J Halls (both Old Loughtonians), J Laslett and P McGuire (both Teddington), S Nicklin (Slough).

PIZZAEXPRESS NATIONAL LEAGUE PLAY-OFFS (Olton HC, 2-4 April) Pool A: Brean, Edgbaston, Sheffield and Gloucester City. Pool B: Crostyx, Chelmsford, Oxford University and Anchorians.

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