Hockey: Beeston boosted by Keegan's return

THE ROAD to success is a hard one, and no one knows this cliche better than player- coaches, who often work themselves into a fit of apoplexy trying to succeed. The Australian Craig Keegan scored a wonderful opening goal against Hampstead and Westminster, only to see his club, St Albans, go down 3-1 in the last game before Christmas, the Division Two leaders opening up a six-point gap.

The result? Keegan's resignation and his return to Beeston, the club he left during the summer. Beeston are propping up the Premier Division and will be hoping that the man who drove them there two seasons ago will now be able to save them. If he succeeds, it will probably be at the expense of Southgate, coached by another Australian, Neil Hawgood.

Sandy Lister, the former England and Ipswich captain, will be starting out on her coaching career at Milton Keynes tomorrow and Wednesday with the East Juniors in the Under-21 Women's Regional tournament.

East were missing last year when the North took the crown for the first time to break up an East or Midland monopoly which has existed for 13 years. North - with several of their players boasting National League experience, including Hightown's Nicola O'Donnell and Sutton Coldfield's Helen Grant, together with their Loughborough Students duo, goalkeeper Anna Vessey and Laura Hughes - will again start favourites.

The West coach Eleen Mander has called up eight members of the Exmouth club in her squad, including the twins, Emma and Kate Tyson. Another set of twins, Jackie and Sarah Armstrong, appear in the Midland's team, who will be without Helen Richardson and Lucilla Wright. The pair have been selected for the Great Britain squad departing at the weekend for a tournament in Spain.