OLYMPICS / Barcelona 1992: Britain fall to Dutch magic: Hockey: Bill Colwill reports from Terrassa

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Great Britain. . . .1

The Netherlands. . .2

BRITAIN'S women, showing commendable aggression and no little skill, eventually lost to the Dutch world champions in an exciting game of top-class hockey as they began their programme in Terrassa last night. The game turned on two penalty corner strikes that would have graced an English men's National League game.

Britain, starting with great purpose, were the first to put the Dutch defence under pressure with aerial balls from Sue Fraser causing all sorts of panic. Jane Sixsmith, well supported by Karen Brown in midfield, carried the game into the Dutch half. After the Dutch had weathered the opening storm and were beginning to get back into the game Britain struck with the opening goal.

Fraser's overhead ball was picked up by Sixsmith, who taking on the Dutch defence in the 16th minute, crossed to find Wendy Fraser and Mary Nevill diving for the ball behind the defence with Fraser getting the final touch.

The first real Dutch danger came from their first penalty corner in the 21st minute, but Britain's goalkeeper Jo Thompson was to make the first of a series of excellent saves, this time from Helen Lejeune van der Ben's strike. Thompson was again in the action to smother shots from Carina Benninga and Wietske de Ruiter but could do nothing to stop Lejeune van der Ben's penalty corner in the 33rd minute for the equaliser.

Thompson, who did so much to deny the Dutch in the European Cup semi-final last year in Brussels, was again to the rescue to save from Martine Ohr after Kath Johnson had been caught in possesion as the second half got under way. Britain's best move of the game came a few minutes later as Vicky Dixon sent Sandie Lister away. Her shrewd pass found Sixsmith who forced Britain's first penalty corner. Karen Brown's flick on the switch was deflected over the bar for a long corner.

As the game swung from end to end and the going got tough, Britain were still more than holding their own until in the 55th minute de Ruiter struck for the second Dutch goal. There was still time for Britain to force three penalty corners, but they were unable to repeat the Dutch formula for success.

GREAT BRITAIN: J Thompson (Slough); J Atkins (Bradford); S Fraser (Glasgow Western), K Johnson (Leicester), V Dixon (Ipswich); A Ramsay (Glasgow Western), K Brown (Slough), S Lister (Ipswich), W Fraser (Glasgow Western), J Sixsmith (Sutton Coldfield), M Nevill (capt, Leicester). Substitutes: M Nicholls (Ealing) for Brown, 49min; T Miller (Clifton) for Atkins, 69; J McWilliams (Randalstown) for Nevill, 69.

NETHERLANDS: J Toxopeus; H Lejeune van der Ben; F Steenbrrghe, A Fokke, C van Le Nieuwenhuyze; C Thate, C Benninga (capt), N Holsboer; M Ohr, I Wolff, W De Ruiter. Substitutes: J Lewin for C Thate, 40; M Wouters for Wolff, 49; C Vinke for De Ruiter, 68.

Umpires: P Buckley (Aus) and V Laje (Sp).