Nicholls leads the rout

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Mandy Nicholls, with four well-taken goals, led England's women to a convincing win in their opening game in the NCM European Cup here yesterday as England played their best since winning the European Cup in Brussels four years ago.

Opening the scoring in the third minute, with Jill Atkins slamming home their first penalty corner, England never looked back. Two minutes later Nicholls collected her first. She was on target again in the 14th minute as she deflected home a long corner from Tammy Miller. The substitute Tina Cullen collected the fourth before Nicholls completed her hat-trick. Brown, who had led the assault, added to the score and Atkins made it seven on the interval.

Nicholls claimed her fourth with Miller completing the scoring in a second half in which coach Maggie Souyave was able to give all her substitutes an early feel of the tournament. England play France today before Saturday's game against Germany, a repeat of the last European Cup final.

ENGLAND: J Thompson (Ipswich); J Atkins (Bradford Swithenbank); S Lister (Ipswich, capt), F Lee (Hightown), L Cope (Balsam Leicester); M Davies (First Personnel Sutton Coldfield), K Brown (Slough), T Miller (Clifton); J Sixsmith (First Personnel Sutton Coldfield) M Nicholls (Slough), A Bennett (Slough). Substitutes used: H Rose, J Smith (both Ipswich), T Cullen, C Cook (Hightown), L Bayliss (First Personnel Sutton Coldfield).

BELGIUM: B Carlier; I Relik; A Chausteur, I Frankingnoulle, L Etienne; E Lorge, K Coudron, S Gierts, C Dembour; M Schaeler (capt), S Moxhet. Substitutes used: P Orlow-Andersen, S Pauwels.

Umpires: L Fotheringham (Scotland) and K Yasueda (Japan).