Hockey: Women sound positive

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The Independent Online
ENGLAND'S women travel to Dublin this weekend for two games against Ireland on the new World Cup pitch at Belfield without injury problems in their final preparations for next month's World Cup, writes Bill Colwill.

As the squad departed yesterday, Sue Slocombe, the England coach, said: 'We are going for two good wins. The team are now beginning to believe in themselves.' The show of confidence follows two victories over Spain, the Olympic champions, in Madrid a fortnight ago.

The last two encounters between Ireland and England ended in draws, but Ireland have recently rebuilt under their new coach, Terry Gregg. They have some promising players, led by the 23-year-old Sarah Kelleher, a more than useful striker.

When the Belfield pitch was opened two weeks ago, they lost only by the odd goal in two matches against Germany, the Olympic silver medallists, and there would be great celebrations in Dublin tomorrow if Ireland could win the 100th game between the two countries in their centenary year.

ENGLAND SQUAD: S Lister (capt), J Thompson, H Rose, L Youngs (Ipswich), S Wright, A Bennett (Slough), M Davies, J Sixsmith, H Whalley (First Personnel Sutton Coldfield), T Cullen, C Cook (Hightown), T Miller (Clifton), S Gibson (Trojans), K Johnson (Balsam Leicester), J Atkins (Bradford Swithenbank), J Smith (Chelmsford).

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