Hockey: Army in sight of the title

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The Independent Online
Army 2, Royal Air Force 1

THE Army moved towards their fifth successive Inter-Services title at Plymouth yesterday when they beat the RAF in a far from convincing performance, writes Bill Colwill. The game hinged around penalty strokes - a miss by Zair Hussain for the RAF and a conversion for the Army's winner from Ian Jennings.

After early dominance by the Army, the airmen clawed their way back into the game, and it was somewhat against the run of play that the Army took the lead just before the interval. Jennings converted their sixth penalty corner, giving the RAF's Scottish international goalkeeper, Alistair Seaton, no chance with a high scoop.

Two spectactular diving saves by Seaton early in the second half kept the RAF in the game before Graham Cartmell equalised from their second penalty corner in the 49th minute. Minutes later, with Aubrey Smith penalised for handling, Hussain shot wide.

With two minutes remaining the RAF captain, Finlay McLean, desperately defending at a penalty corner, was alleged to have pushed Jennings to concede a penalty stroke, which Jennings converted. The Army need only draw today against the Royal Navy for the title.

Army: J Williams; S Hazlitt (capt), A Smith, B Hemmings, B Gray, I Jolly, I Jennings, P Gorman, R Head, I Gall, M Way. Substitutes used: D Bosher, T Wood.

Royal Air Force: A Seaton; C Kimber, S Welham, Zair Hussain, D Oatley, I Wood, F McLean (capt), D Sellars, Malik Haleem, G Cartmell, S Gilmore. Substitutes used: C Burrell, D Phelps.

Umpires: A Stalker, I Bryan (CSHUA).

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