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Hockey: Australia 4 England 1

PUBLISHED: 16:00 03 March 2018

England's Phil Roper was on target against Australia (pic Paul Harding/PA)

England's Phil Roper was on target against Australia (pic Paul Harding/PA)

PA Archive/PA Images

England’s men made a losing start to the defence of their Sultan Azlan Shah Cup title in Malaysia on Saturday.

World number one ranked Australia showed a clinical edge in front of goal against Bobby Crutchley’s team, which included Hampstead & Westminster’s Harry Martin.

And England will hope to bounce back when they take on India on Sunday morning, with the game being shown live on FIH’s YouTube channel.

Push back was delayed by nearly an hour due to torrential rain, but England’s Phil Roper had the first chance as he shot just wide on six minutes.

Chris Griffiths sent a shot on the turn past the post, before Tyler Lovell saved another attempt.

And Australia took the lead when Dylan Wotherspoon beat George Pinner towards the end of the first quarter.

Blake Govers made it 2-0 in the 19th minute, deflecting in Flynn Ogilvie’s shot, but Roper halved the deficit six minutes later with a superb solo effort, beating three defenders on his way into the D and tucking the ball home.

Sam Ward had been denied moments earlier by Lovell and England fell 3-1 down before half time as Aaron Kleinschmidt helped a bouncing ball into the net after Harry Gibson denied Tom Craig.

Captain Ian Sloan saw Henry Weir’s cross diverted away from his stick at the other end, while Mark Gleghorne’s short corner was saved by Lovell.

And Lochlan Sharp fired home Australia’s fourth after Pinner had denied Wotherspoon’s original effort, before Lovell kept out another Gleghorne corner and a last-minute flick from Ward.

England: Pinner, Weir, Martin, Griffiths, Sloan, Ward, Gleghorne, Roper, Middleton, Creed, Sanford. Subs: Gibson, Dixon, Goodfield, Ansell, Condon, Gall.

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