Hockey: Ramsden ready for England debut to protect unbeaten run against Canada

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The Independent Online

Canada provide the opposition this afternoon at Bisham Abbey for England's men in the first of their four-match Test series.

Canada provide the opposition this afternoon at Bisham Abbey for England's men in the first of their four-match Test series.

The Canadians have never beaten England in 12 matches over a 27-year period. The nearest they came was a 1-1 draw at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur, and Canada are ranked 17th in the world against England's 10th position. However, they should provide a useful workout for an England squad missing several key players.

Two of the home side's more experienced players, Mark Pearn (Polo Barcelona) and Ben Hawes (Amsterdam) are unavailable because their clubs are involved in National play-offs.

Cannock's penalty corner specialist Simon Ramsden, who has been instrumental in his club's treble of domestic titles this season, is set to make his England debut. Guildford's Peter Riley, who was most impressive when his club hosted the Super Cup a couple of weeks ago, and Surbiton's Matt Lee are also handed debuts.

Returning from injury will be Cannock's Martin Jones following a knee strain and Jerome Goudie, of Loughborough Students, who has missed most of the season following an operation on his shoulder.

Old Loughtonians' Chigwell ground will be a hive of activity today and tomorrow with a string of finals in various competitions.

The most entertaining could be the men's Trophy final this afternoon between Slough and Trojans.

Slough, looking to return to their glory days, will be making their first appearance in a National final since they lost the 1987 HA Cup final.

Trojans, like Slough, are another former National League club on their way back.

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