Aussie coach revels in glory

COMMONWEALTH GAMES: Honorary Englishwoman Tricia Heberle was happy to revel in the glory of her side's famous 2-1 victory over Australia which put them into the final and condemned her compatriots to a bronze medal play-off.

COMMONWEALTH GAMES

Honorary Englishwoman Tricia Heberle was happy to revel in the glory of her side's famous

2-1 victory over Australia which put them into the final and condemned her compatriots to a bronze medal play-off.

The Western Australia-born coach helped mastermind the win which ended the reign of the defending champions, but it was the way in which it was done which was remarkable.

A stunning first half of fast-flowing, incisive hockey left the Hockeyroos reeling at 2-0 down at the interval.

Manchester-born Kate Walsh scored one from a penalty corner and set up the other for Helen Grant to deflect in – also from a set-piece – and was outstanding at the back as even a late Louise Dobson penalty corner could not dampen England's spirits.

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Crucially, England goalkeeper Hilary Rose, the former Ipswich goalie, also saved a first-half penalty stroke from Dobson as the home side claimed their first victory over the Aussies in a major tournament for 16 years, playing the last seven minutes with ten women after Rachel Walker was sin-binned.

"I'm very, very proud of their efforts," Heberle said.

"Especially the way the girls handled themselves in the last 12 minutes or so when it was absolutely torrid.

"We just had to be dogged and just hang in there – and we did that very well."

England were without mid-fielder Lucilla Wright, who is still in hospital with an infected shoulder as a result of an injury sustained in the first group game and they also lost Helen Richardson with a hip injury.

But Heberle said it was the squad's general fitness which saw them through.

"One of the things I identified when I got the job was that if you want to compete with the best teams in the world then you have got to be able to play at pace," she added.

"You have to be able to compete physically and compete with your basic skills.

"I have brought bits and pieces from my time in Australia but this is not anything about Australia. This is something very English and something very special."

England will play India in the final on Sunday after they shocked second-ranked New Zealand 2-1.

Scotland finished sixth after losing 4-3 to a golden goal against South Africa, while Canada beat Malaysia 5-0 to claim seventh place.

But there will be no medal glory for England's men, who play Canada in the fifth-place play-off later today.

After a desperately disappointing 1-0 defeat to South Africa on Tuesday, after dominating the game, the home side have to lift themselves knowing they cannot match the bronze they won four years ago.

"We have got to find a way of picking ourselves up and going forward into our remaining game and get out of that what we can," said goalkeeper Simon Mason.

The other games see semi-finals between Pakistan and New Zealand and Australia versus South Africa, with Wales and Barbados playing off to avoid the wooden spoon.

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