Trojans deny Leicester

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Kath Johnson's return to competitive hockey following the birth of her son had no happy ending in the semi-final of the AEWHA Cup in Southampton.

The Great Britain and England defender had her penalty stroke saved in the 64th minute in a goalless draw with Trojans, who went on to beat Balsam Leicester 4-3 in the penalty shoot-out. Trojans will meet last year's losing finalists, Hightown, who beat Exmouth 3-1, in the final on Sunday week.

After an even first half, Leicester took control, despite missing the services of their England Under-21 internationals, Lucy Cope and Sarah Blanks, who were playing in the European qualifier in Bratislavia, where England beat Spain 1-0 in Saturday's final.

After the interval, Leicester struggled in the high temperature, as Trojans, with Sally Gibson dominating the midfield and Kathryn James causing all sorts of problems up front.

With the Southampton side squandering a number of good chances through poor finishing and wasting five penalty-corner opportunities, Leicester also had their chance as Johnson stepped forward for the penalty stroke. The Trojans goalkeeper, Julie Williams, made a diving save to ensure the shoot-out.

At Exmouth, Hightown brushed aside the absence of their three Under-21 players to beat Exmouth in a game that never looked in doubt after Tina Cullen's opening goal in the 15th minute. Jackie Crook extended Hightown's lead from the penalty spot just before the interval, with Cullen getting her second in the 46th minute. Gemma Martin scored a second-half consolation for Exmouth.

On his return to senior hockey, Rob Hill, the Somerset farmer and Britain's top goalscorer in the Barcelona Olympics, was on target at Aldershot over the weekend, scoring 10 times in his county's opening three games of the Norwich Union County Championship. Hill took an early opportunity to benefit from the experimental rules in effect, which allow goals to be scored from anywhere within the 25-yard area.

Results, Sporting Digest, page 29