Beeston aim to retain their title

Hockey
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The Independent Online
The National League revised First Division gets under way today with a new format of 23 clubs meeting each other once during the season with the new "no offside" rule being played, writes Bill Colwill.

Last season's Second Division champions Beeston are looking to retain their title and this year gain promotion. For their home game with Hull they welcome back goalkeeper Danny Williams from Southgate and newcomers Paul Sheardown from Hull, Brett Gillmon from Slough and Richard Stamp from Doncaster. Ian Patchett from Bournville is expected to line up in the Hull squad.

Runners-up Oxford University - away to City of Portsmouth - welcome back their coach, Gavin Featherstone, who took them into the National League, after his spell with South Africa. New captain, the Kiwi Matt Barr, will be joined by two compatriots, Nicholas Pirihi and John MacCormick, who played for Cambridge a few years back.

National League newcomers Lewes make the short trip to Chislehurst to play Bromley who just avoided the drop last season.

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