Kelburne Duo Start in South Africa

SOUTH AFRICA 2 (0)
Ian Symons 46 (PS)
Marvyn Ban 65 (F)

GREAT BRITAIN 2 (0)

Ashley Jackson 47 (PC)
James Tindall 68 (F)

Great Britain played the first of four games to be played in a three nations tournament involving South Africa and Canada, both of whom have already qualified for the Olympics in Beijing later this year. Reading?s Nick Catlin was awarded his first senior cap in today?s game with Barry Middleton reaching 150 not out in terms of international appearances (England and Great Britain combined).

It took until the 46th minute for the deadlock to be broken and it was hosts South Africa who took the lead through a dubious penalty stroke which Ian Symons converted. Great Britain equalised through Ashley Jackson just a minute later when he fired home from a penalty corner, but South Africa regained their lead five minutes from time when Marvyn Ban scored from open play. The Brits equalised again just three minutes later when James Tindall deflected the ball into the back of the net after some excellent work from Barry Middleton.

Great Britain played well throughout and had enough chances to have won the game, earning six penalty corners with South Africa being prevented from winning any.

Manager Pete Nicholson was pleased with the performance and said ?We played well today on a difficult pitch which was half wet and half dry. Throughout our training sessions this week, a number of players have picked up minor injuries which meant that Richard and Simon Mantell, Brett Garrard, Graham Moodie, Stephen Dick and James Fair were all unavailable for selection.? When asked how Nick Catlin played on his first ever international appearance, he commented ?He had a very good game today and we?re pleased with his performance?.

South Africa and Canada drew 1-1 yesterday, with Great Britain going head to head with Canada tomorrow at 1400hrs GMT.

This series of games is forming part of the warm-up to March?s Olympic Qualifiers in Santiago where Great Britain will need to win the tournament in order to secure their place at the world?s biggest sporting event. They will face Austria, Bangledesh, Chile, India and Mexico.

TEAM

Started:
Richard Alexander (Surbiton), Jon Bleby (Loughborough Stu), Jonty Clarke (Reading), Matt Daly (Surbiton), Ben Hawes (Surbiton), Glenn Kirkham (East Grinstead ), Alistair McGregor (GK) (Loughborough Stu), Barry Middleton (HGC), Mark Ralph (Kelburne), Niall Stott (Kelburne), Alastair Wilson (Beeston)

Substitutes:
Nick Catlin (Reading), Ashley Jackson (East Grinstead), Ben Marsden (Surbiton), Rob Moore (Surbiton), James Tindall (Surbiton)