Hockey: Firebrands hope to reduce relegation fears

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The Independent Online

With the season just two weeks old clubs are already talking of the fear of automatic relegation for the bottom two and the trauma of end-of-season play-offs to avoid the drop for the next two. With four clubs pointless at the bottom of the men's First Division, Firebrands visit to Chelmsford will be of particular importance for these two. Both are recent newcomers to the top division.

With the season just two weeks old clubs are already talking of the fear of automatic relegation for the bottom two and the trauma of end-of-season play-offs to avoid the drop for the next two. With four clubs pointless at the bottom of the men's First Division, Firebrands visit to Chelmsford will be of particular importance for these two. Both are recent newcomers to the top division.

There is unlikely to be much joy for the other two pointless clubs. St Albans, under their new Dutch coach, Bo Koolen, have already conceded 14 goals in their two games and can expect to see that total rise when they visit second-placed Cannock. Equally, there is unlikely to be much joy for Guildford, who make the short trip to their neighbours, Surbiton.

At the top Loughborough Students will have their first real test of the season with the visit of the young Canterbury side.

The weekend sees an interesting double header in the women's First Division for last season's top two, with Bowdon Hightown and Chelmsford meeting for the second time in eight days at Chelmer Park. When they met last Sunday, in Manchester, the teams drew 3-3. Olton and West Warwick and Slough, both on maximum points, meet at Olton's new home at Henley-on-Arden.

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