Hockey: Cambridge exploit Army's poor defence

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Cambridge University 5 Army 3

CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY took their annual fixture against the Army yesterday to the Milton Keynes National Stadium as a dress rehearsal for next month's Varsity match at the venue. It is doubtful, however, that they will find the Oxford defence as charitable as they did the Army's in their 5-3 victory in an action-packed and entertaining game.

The soldiers had survived a furious opening salvo from the students and were just beginning to get back into the game when Adam Laird snatched an improbable opening goal in the eighth minute.

The former Dark Blue striker gracefully collected a loose ball on the half-way line and with little effort glided through the Army defence in a 40-yard dash, drew the goalkeeper and placed the ball into an empty net.

The arrival into the battle of England's Guy Fordham after 18 minutes saw renewed Army assaults, with the equaliser coming a minute later at a penalty corner from the Army captain, Ian Jennings, who at the weekend became the first to score 200 National League goals.

The first of two solo goals from Cambridge's Belgian Thierry Gruslin sent the students to the interval with a 2-1 lead.

Gareth Weir scored the first of his two goals eight minutes after the resumption before Jennings claimed his second. Gruslin's and Weir's second goals were separated by a well taken goal from Scotland's Richard Forsyth for the Army's third.

Forsyth, who completed the Army's useful midfield along with Jennings and Fordham, was unlucky with earlier efforts, particularly a fierce drive against the upright a minute into the second half.

Cambridge, who had left their captain Rob Hudson on his sick bed at home, will have found the game useful preparation and no doubt the pitch was to their liking. The Army sorely missed their England Under 21 full-back, Jon Evenett, who was on manoeuvres.

Cambridge University: M Harris; N Jones; I McClive, P Outram, P Dodd; R Wilcock, T Gruslin, A Cotton (capt); G Weir; J Costelloe, A Laird. Substitutes used: S Amerasekera, J Craven.

Army: Capt D Sherry; S/Sgt G Symes; Pte I Ison, Lt J Relph, Capt A Taylor; Cpl S Greenwood, WO. I Jennings (capt), OCdt R Forsyth; Fus C Williams, Capt T Wood, S/Sgt D Bosher. Substitutes used: Lt G Fordham, Rfn P Monteith, LCpl T Slater.

Umpires: A Budd (ECHUA) and T Kelly (CSHUA).