Pearn may be main man for England

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The Independent Online
Hockey

Given the disappointing British results in the recent Olympics, the men and women's junior quadrangle tournament starting here today has particular significance as the Atlanta post-mortems begin and building for Sydney gets underway, writes Bill Colwill from Vught, the Netherlands.

Both tournaments feature England, Germany and the Dutch. The men's event also includes Pakistan, who play England today, while England's women play South Africa.

With the European Championships at the end of the month in Cardiff (women) and Vejle, Denmark (men), the European sides should be reaching their peak. Additional interest will centre around the new experimental rules being played - the main one being no off-side.

With six of the women's squad already capped at senior level, they should start with a win against South Africa, but may find it difficult to overcome the Dutch women, who are coached by Tom van't Hek, who has just returned from Atlanta with a bronze medal as the senior coach.

As for the men, the performances of Reading's Mark Pearn, who many felt should have been part of Britain's Olympic squad at the outset, and certainly when Rob Thompson had to pull out after having arrived in Atlanta, will be watched with great interest.

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