OLYMPICS / Barcelona 1992: Hockey: Sixsmith leads the advance

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Great Britain. . . . . . . . . . . . . .3

New Zealand. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2

JANE SIXSMITH, with a powerful display of non-stop aggression, battled her way through countless New Zealand defenders to lead Britain into the semi-finals following a controlled 3-2 win against New Zealand.

Knowing that Korea had beaten the Dutch world champions 2-0, Britain had to beat the New Zealanders to achieve their first objective. Although, in the words of their coach Dennis Hay, 'It was a good team performance', there is no doubt that it was Sixsmith's perseverence that won the day.

Britain set off on their task in a hesitant fashion with nervousness taking over at vital moments as attacking hockey, as they played against Korea, appeared to be the order of the day. It was a fine run by Sixsmith down the right which produced Britain's first penalty corner - of the five they were to gain in the first half - in the second minute. An over-elaborate drill failed to produce a shot.

At the other end Tina Bell was beginning to create problems for Britain's defence and only an ever- watchful Jo Thompson saved British blushes in the eighth minute and a combination of Thompson and Jill Atkins a minute later, with the Bradford defender diving full length to clear off the line after Thompson's half-block from Bell was going goalwards.

When Mary Clinton's desperate tackle blocked Sixsmith in the ninth minute and Karen Brown's flick from the penalty corner was going goalwards, Clinton illegally swept it clear to concede a penalty stroke. Fortune smiled on Britain as Kath Johnson's mis-hit flick trickled in to put her side ahead.

New Zealand, searching for their first win of the tournament, lifted their game to put Britain under pressure with Thompson doing well to save from a couple of penalty corners but she could do nothing to stop Tina Bell's equaliser in the 20th minute. There were thrills and misses at both ends before the interval but no further scoring.

After the break, when it looked as if Britain were never going to break down a solid Kiwi defence, a quickly taken free hit by Alison Ramsay, following one of far too many crunching tackles administered to Sixsmith, brought another penalty corner. This time Fraser elected to shoot. Her powerful drive was blocked but went to Ramsay who, with careful deliberation, placed her shot to put Britain back into the lead.

A run by Mandy Nicholls produced another corner for Britain, Johnson driving home her second. New Zealand, cheered on by the large Dutch element now swelling the crowd, fought back, with Mary Clinton converting a penalty corner nine minutes from time.

Later Spain beat the Olympic champions Australia 1-0.

GREAT BRITAIN: J Thompson (Slough); J Atkins (Bradford), S Fraser (Glasgow Western), K Johnson (Leicester), J McWilliams (Randalstown), A Ramsay (Glasgow Western), K Brown (Slough), S Lister (Ipswich), W Fraser (Glasgow Western); J Sixsmith (Sutton Coldfield), M Nevill (Leicester, capt). Substitutes: M Nicholls (Ealing) for Brown, 47 min; V Dixon (Ipswich) for McWilliams, 52 min; T Miller (Clifton) for Nevill 55 min.

NEW ZEALAND: E Jensen; M Clinton (capt), K O'Grady, R Toomey, S Furmage, S Collins, K Trolove, T Bell, A Lawrence, C Arthur, K Foy. Substitutes: S Cooper for Foy, 49 min; A Smith for Lawrence, 60 min.

Umpires: C Asselman (Bel), M Lanning (Can).

Comments