Hockey: Cup devalued by crucial absentees
Saturday 13 December 2003
With the National League programme already in its mid-season break, interest this weekend centres on the EH Cup competition, which a number of clubs regret has been devalued by the absence of important players in South Africa with the England B training squads. For the women's fourth-round ties, something like the top 30 English players will be missing.
One club not worried by absences is Holcombe, the only non-National League club left in the men's competition. The Kent club, a merger of Old Holcombeians, Templars and Rochester and Gillingham, are only in their fourth year and are making rapid progress with back-to-back league successes and Kent Cup wins for the past two seasons.
Their player-coach, Steve Haines, expects to be at full strength for the fifth-round visit of Lewes, and was quietly confident. "We have played Lewes twice already this year in friendly games, with a win and a draw. We're looking to another tough game on Sunday."
Holcombe's captain, Simon Owen, should know something about the opposition, having played for them in the National League until the start of last season.
The Premiership clash between Loughborough Students and Cannock has been devalued with the absence of three key student players in South Africa. The decision of the former Loughborough coach Jason Lee, now the Great Britain coach, to allow GB players back from New Zealand to play has significantly strengthened the Cannock side with the return of their four players.
Latest in Sport
Phil Jagielka: I may never win back England place, says Everton defender
Mario Balotelli: Staff at arson-hit Manchester Dogs' Home convinced Liverpool striker is behind five-figure donation
Rio Ferdinand mocks Jamie Carragher's Liverpudlian accent... but Liverpool man hits back at Londoner
Colombian women's cycling team kit that makes wearer appear naked is branded 'unacceptable' by UCI president
Comment: Alan Pardew is just a stooge for Mike Ashley who runs Newcastle like his shops – cheap foreign imports and a tame manager
- 2 Friends 20th anniversary: Alison Jackson photographs reunited cast
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 5 Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned into a PR disaster
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...
£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...
£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...
£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...