Hockey: Canterbury plan to stop the rot

WITH THE Premier League play-off places looking more or less certain to be filled by Cannock, Southgate, Reading and Canterbury, the teams currently in the top four places, interest this weekend will be focused outside the top clubs, although Canterbury need to arrest the decline of recent weeks.

Indeed, the team which led the way at the mid-season break has collected just two points from their last six games. But with David Mathews fit again and David Hacker expected to be available, they should return to winning form away to Brooklands, already condemned to relegation after just one season in the Premier, and possibly further points at Beeston on their way home tomorrow.

Hounslow, twice League champions in the early 90s, will be without Jon Potter for their home games against Old Loughtonians and Southgate, from which they require a minimum of four points if they are to stand a reasonable chance of avoiding a play-off with the Division One champions to retain their Premier status.

Surbiton, the Division One leaders, have their three South Africans available for their last game against lowly Firebrands but need a win to ensure the title. Second-placed Doncaster, one point behind, will have no easy task at Bromley who have had a good late run.

The restructuring of the Leagues for next season has ensured that there is something to play for in virtually every one of the last Division One games tomorrow, with most teams involved in some kind of promotion or relegation struggle.

Particularly competitive is the fight for a Division One place next season for which a top-eight finish is necessary. Chelmsford, chasing one of those places, still have South African goal scorer Justin King on the injured list for their visit to Loughborough Students.