Scots give Britain formidable start

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The Independent Online


reports from Bisham Abbey

Great Britain 5 Russia 0

Scotland's Pauline Robertson and Sue MacDonald each scored twice, after their Scottish team-mate Sue Fraser had given Britain a fourth-minute lead, in the first of the three-match Test series against Russia yesterday.

Great Britain, who leave on Sunday for Cape Town and the Olympic qualifier, were in aggressive mood as they tore into the Russian defence, with the impetus coming from Mandy Davies and Robertson in midfield.

A hard tackle in midfield prompted Davies's advance into the Russian half to win the first penalty corner, which Fraser converted. Ten minutes later, Jane Sixsmith's cross from the right found Robertson unmarked to score the second, and her second goal came just before the interval when she converted Britain's sixth penalty corner.

When MacDonald was floored by Gulsum Musina, the Russian goalkeeper, nine minutes into the second half, she converted the resulting penalty stroke herself. With one minute remaining, MacDonald put the icing on the cake with her second, following up at Britain's only penalty corner of the half after Fraser's initial lob had bounced off the crossbar.

Jenny Cardwell, the Great Britain manager, expressed her satisfaction after the game: "Delighted to score five," she said. "We dominated the first half, then had a sticky patch which we came through well."

Cardwell also complimented the Russians on their individual skills, some of which were delightful, but she felt it was not a great team effort. A stronger team performance today in the second Test, also at Bisham Abbey, would better suit Britain's preparations.

GREAT BRITAIN: J Thompson (Ipswich); S Fraser (Grove), J Atkins (Bradford Swithenbank, capt), K Brown (Slough), L Cope (Leicester); M Davies (Sutton Coldfield), P Robertson (Grove), T Miller (Clifton); J Sixsmith (Sutton Coldfield), S MacDonald (Glasgow Western), R Simpson (Edinburgh Ladies). Substitutes used: M Nicholls (Slough), A Bennett (Slough), C Cook (Hightown), D Renilson (Edinburgh Ladies).

RUSSIA: G Musina; I Sviridova; N Kravchenko, O Nikiforova, E Cheroshilova; E Kalinichenko, S Prokofieva, M Chegurdaeva, T Vasykova (capt); I Peskunoa, E Polovkova. Substitutes used: O Leksini, O Ushova, N Zaichenko.

Umpires: J Clarke and M Hunnaball (Eng).