Hockey: Challenge for Thompson

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JO THOMPSON, Great Britain's Olympic goalkeeper, returns to Slough tomorrow to face her old club as they take on Ipswich in the day's top First Division National League game, writes Bill Colwill.

Thompson, who was so instrumental in Slough's three successive National League titles, is one of three international signings Ipswich have made this season: Lucy Youngs, from Harlesden, and Kirsten Spencer, from Clifton, being the others. The Suffolk club believe their new recruits can lift them to their first League victory over a Slough side overwhelmed by injuries and so maintain their own 100 per cent record.

The Ipswich manager, Donna Mills, wants her team finally to click into gear. She said: 'We've been winning by the odd goal without playing well. We're now looking for a good win against Slough.'

Hightown, leading Ipswich on goal difference, travel to Chelmsford and will be looking for their first League win over the Essex club. On current form, and with Chelmsford suffering from a number of injuries, that seems likely.

Ealing's Olympic bronze medallist, Mandy Nicholls, has decided to take a short break from outdoor league hockey and will be missing for their home fixture against Doncaster. Their captain, Sue Lawrie, said yesterday: 'We will miss Mandy but we all understand and agree with her decision.

'We have had a slow start and are still looking for our first win but there is no panic and there is a long way to go yet.'