Hockey: Favourites Cannock start title defence at Guildford

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The Independent Online

Cannock start the defence of their Premier Division title tomorrow away to Guildford as favourites to retain the title, but they are likely to find the competition tougher in the new-look, 12-team league.

Cannock start the defence of their Premier Division title tomorrow away to Guildford as favourites to retain the title, but they are likely to find the competition tougher in the new-look, 12-team league.

The former England captain Craig Parnham has left Cannock, but fellow his Athens Olympian Graham Moodie should prove an able replacement.

Reading, who finished second last season, have undergone major changes. The coach Jon Copp has left for Racing Club in Paris, internationals Jon Wyatt and Howard Hoskin have retired, and Mark Pearn Rhys Joyce and Ben Barnes have all moved elsewhere. New captain Rob Todd will be supported by signings Jon Brown and Australian Keegan Smith.

Reading are at home tomorrow topromoted Chelmsford who have signed Australian Jason Tomlinson and South African Gareth Carr. Adrian Kimber and Rob Mackay return to the club, and Phil Sully has also joined from Cannock.

Hampstead and Westminster are at home to Surbiton, who will be without Great Britain players Brett Garrard and Ben Hawes, who have joined Dutch clubs, and Jimmy Wallis who is unavailable tomorrow. Surbiton have, however, recruited strongly from Teddington, including Rob Moore and Jon Ebsworth. Hampstead and Westminster are boosted by the arrival of Spaniards Kike Ballbe Sala and Marc Garcia-Cascon.

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