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Out with a bang? Or out with a whimper? It was frustrating to watch GB's hockey hopes fade. For all the excitement of the game against Australia, the men subsided with that draw against Canada - a country better known for their skills on the ice.

And the women's path was blocked by a stubborn but limited USA side. It's hard to shake the feeling that opportunity was knocking.

Ranked eighth and 10th in the world respectively, Britain's men and women will claim with justification to have made progress here in China. They each hope to finish in fifth place, which would be a significant achievement in the wider scheme of things. They are making headway.

Continue reading "Frustration for Britain's hockey teams"

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What a start for Britain's men's hockey team.

Just as Steve Harmison's wayward first ball of the 2006 Ashes set the tone for the whole of the series, they'll be hoping James Tindall's crashing strike is an omen for their Beijing campaign.

It certainly set tongues wagging at the Olympic hockey venue.

The New Zealand TV commentator next to me was cooing with admiration, so too my German counterpart just below me.

All four goals were of the highest quality - Rob Moore's reverse stick effort my personal favourite.

Continue reading "Victory over Pakistan kickstarts GB men"


GB's men have eased off the gas as D-Day approaches, confident that the hard work is done

Their coach Jason Lee told me the time at the training base in Macau was invaluable for the acclimatisation process, and he expects to reap the dividends here in China.

The stifling heat in Beijing will ask questions of every athlete - but Lee insists it was hotter in Macau, and his men will be ready for anything.

As for the smog: "Everyone has to breathe the same air" he said.


Continue reading "GB hockey teams shrug off heat ahead of tough openers"

Twenty years ago, British hockey enjoyed its finest hour. On a sweltering afternoon in Seoul, a 3-1 win over West Germany prompted wild celebrations.

The amateurs assembled under Richard Dodds' captaincy were deservedly crowned Olympic champions, but rather than heralding a period of dominance and trophies, the game in this country stagnated. Two decades on, do Jason Lee and Danny Kerry's sides have what it takes to win gold for Britain in Beijing?

The easy answer is probably no, given current form and world rankings. Both the GB men and women seem short of genuine world-class players, but there is nothing like an Olympic Games to galvanise a group. It's their Everest, and for some, it's the only chance they will have to showcase their talents on the global stage.

Continue reading "Tough tests ahead for GB hockey teams"

I spend the bulk of my working year reporting and commentating on rugby and tennis for Radio 5 Live. Every other year though, I focus on the hockey at the Olympic and Commonwealth Games. I'm 33, English and joined the BBC in 2002.

My first job in journalism was with Independent Radio News. After 18 months of news reporting, I jumped ship to the sports desk where I spent four happy years covering rugby and cricket, taking in some tasty England tours to South Africa, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, along with the 1999 Rugby World Cup.

Since moving to 5 Live, I have continued to cover the rugby, including a trip with the Scottish team to the World Cup in Australia in 2003, and with Ireland to the 2007 World Cup in France. I also commentate on the four tennis Grand Slams for the BBC, and covered the hockey at the Athens Olympics of 2004, and the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne 2006.

I am still coming to terms with the fact that I have missed the boat to hit a Test century at Lord's, lift the Wimbledon trophy or score a hat-trick of tries at Twickenham. I have to be content with some agricultural batting on the village green, a regular workout on a tennis court, and a hope that my two little boys achieve their own dreams of sporting glory.

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