HOCKEY: Captain is confident of Slough recovery

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"DESPONDENT" IS not a word in the vocabulary of Slough's new captain, Julia Robertson. Last season's treble champions lost their first two matches of the season last weekend and today have a difficult match at Ipswich, who won both their games last weekend.

"We knew the first part of the season was going to be tough, with so many new faces and our six Great Britain squad players unable to train with us," she said. "Our target is top four and the play-offs, and we will make it." Robertson is aided by the return of England's Jane Smith and Wales' Annie Williams.

The visit of Clifton to Fyffes Leicester tomorrow, both on maximum points this morning, is the prime fixture of another weekend of double headers as the League endeavours to cope with next March's Olympic Qualifying Tournament at Milton Keynes.

The men's National League Division Two begins tomorrow, before the other two divisions, because of its 12-team structure, with St Albans busy during the summer in an effort to recapture some of their former glories and to claim the one promotion spot.

The former England indoor captain Andy Halliday has again taken over the captaincy with Australian Craig Keegan joining them as player-coach. Other newcomers include Dominic Maguire from Brooklands, Ian Hammond from Beeston and Jonathon Lawford from Isca. But Keegan and former Great Britain full-back Paul Bolland will not be available to face Harleston Magpies.

Hampstead and Westminster play Formby with South African Craig Carolan, Australian Dallas Watts and Spanish student Bruno Solovin.