Hockey: Double bill for Loughborough

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The Independent Online
SPARE A thought for the students of Loughborough University this weekend. At the Cocks Moors Woods Centre in Birmingham today they will be playing in the National Club Indoor championship for a place at finals night at Crystal Palace next month for the first time, and tomorrow afternoon they travel to Bowdon in their postponed fourth-round EHA Cup tie, where they will be striving to reach the fifth round of the national competition for the first time.

The Students' manager, Bob McBlane, was unhappy with the demanding schedule."Whilst we have agreed to the double banking," he said, "we are not happy and feel we have been pushed into a corner and pressurised into honouring both commitments."

The indoor contest is a round-robin event, three games today and two tomorrow, with three to qualify from the six teams for the finals.

Loughborough plan, after their 10am game tomorrow morning, against the defending champions, Reading, to consider their prospects of qualifying for the indoor finals before deciding which of their squad will travel north for the Bowdon fixture and who will remain for their final game, against Norton.

Norton were faced with an similar problem, having been scheduled to visit Hounslow for their cup game that was called off before Christmas. Reluctantly and unhappily they decided to pull out of the cup rather than travel with a depleted side.

Southgate expect to include their latest Australian acquisition, the international Max Diamond, in their squad which will be captained by the German international Eiko Rott. Reading will be missing their England internationals, Jon Wyatt and Howard Hoskin, who will be replaced by the Todd brothers, Andy and Rob.