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Thursday, 1 August, 2002, 18:54 GMT 19:54 UK

England claim shock victory

England 2-1 Australia

World and Olympic champions Australia saw their dreams of retaining the Commonwealth title dashed by two first-half goals.

Kate Walsh and Helen Grant struck inside the first 25 minutes to set England on their way to a stunning success.

Louise Dobson, who missed a penalty stroke for the defending champions in the 28th minute, reduced the deficit just before the final whistle but England held on.

It was their first victory over the Hockeyroos in a major competition for 15 years - and Walsh was almost lost for words.

"I'm speechless, it is unbelievable," she said. "The first half we just played out of our skins and it's nice to beat the Aussies at their own game."

The hosts took the game to Australia right from the start and were rewarded after 17 minutes when they forced a penalty corner.

The ball was slipped left and Slough defender Walsh flicked in her third goal in as many games.

Eight minutes later, the ball was again switched to Walsh at another set piece - and her flick towards goal was deflected in by Grant.

Australia were handed a great chance when they were awarded a penalty stroke after the ball hit Helen Richardson's feet, but keeper Hilary Rose saved Dobson's poor effort.

"The crowd were going bonkers... it was absolutely brilliant"
England's Kate Walsh

A minute later, Rose saved another Dobson attempt, this time from a penalty corner, to send England in 2-0 up at the break.

Australia twice went close from penalty corners in the second half.

And when England had Rachel Walker sin-binned with seven minutes remaining, the defending champions scented an opportunity.

Dobson finally found a way though from a penalty corner with three minutes to go, but England held out to set up a final against India on Saturday.

The Asian side came from behind to beat New Zealand 2-1 in the other semi-final.


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