Hockey: England's surprise

Bill Colwill
Tuesday 28 January 2014 02:57

England upset the Commonwealth Games champions, Australia, with a magnificent 2-1 win last night and will tomorrow play India in the final. In a day of continuous rain, it was England's first victory over their rivals in a major championship since 1986 in Amsterdam, where they won 3-2 to take fifth place.

After starting in confident fashion and stemming Australia's initial assaults, Kate Walsh opened the scoring for England in the 17th minute at the first of two penalty corners. Eight minutes later Helen Grant added a second.

The Australians returned to the attack, winning a penalty corner in the 28th minute. Louise Dobson's stinging shot hit Walsh's foot in front of goalkeeper Hilary Rose, leading to the surprising award of a penalty stroke.

Rose was equal to Dobson's stroke and England went into the interval with 2-0 ahead. In the second half, although the home side never reached the heights of the first half, they gave a tremendous performance, with Mandy Nicholson covering for the hospitalised Lucille Wright in midfield. Rose and her defence held firm even after the harsh temporary suspension of Rachel Walker for not retreating at a free hit, until Dobson eventually got the ball past Rose in the 66th minute at Australia's ninth penalty corner.

Despite continuous pressure to the end, England held firm for a fine victory.

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