Hockey: Cup loses out to player calls

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The Independent Online
NATIONAL demands have robbed tomorrow's quarter-final games in the Royal Bank of Scotland Hockey Association Cup of some of the gloss, writes Bill Colwill. Cannock, who entertain Hounslow, the holders, will be missing John Mills, a key defender who will be with Scotland in Eygpt for the inter-continental qualifier, while Hounslow lose Guy Fordham, the England Under-18 international, who is required for a training weekend.

Hounslow will also be without Scott Hobson, the New Zealand international, who is on a skiing holiday, while Justin Pidcock, Cannock's recent signing, is not eligible.

More fortunate are Beeston, who should have visited Reading, the Second Division leaders. Although knowing that postponements are no longer granted for league games when players are absent on under-18 commitments, they asked, tongue in cheek, for their cup fixture to be delayed, claiming that three of their squad would be required.

Much to their surprise, the request was granted, even before the training squad was announced, no doubt leaving some red faces at the HA as only two of the three were then selected.

East Grinstead visit non-league Hampstead and Westminster without Marc Zander, their Scottish winger. With a long injury list, which includes Jason Lee, Ranveer Virdi and Peter Head, and with Richard Leman still doubtful, East Grinstead would almost certainly have requested a postponement had they expected such benevolence from the HA.