Hockey: Ellison quick to make his mark

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Oxford University. . . . . . . . . . . . . .2

Rhodes University. . . . . . . . . . . . . .0

OXFORD UNIVERSITY started the new term where they ended the last, in a winning vein with a victory at Banbury Road yesterday, but were made to struggle by a skilful Rhodes University side from Eastern Province who are quickly adapting to artificial pitches, writes Bill Colwill.

Coached in recent months by Richard Leman, a British Olympic gold medallist in Seoul, the South Africans are a useful side but failed to take advantage of an Oxford defence which, although strengthened by the inclusion of Reading's Jon Wyatt, badly missed the steadying influence of last year's captain, Andy Minson, who has not yet returned from a visit to his home in Australia.

In the opening exchanges, Oxford made all the running but poor finishing and a goal-line clearance by the full-back, Tim Stirk, at a penalty corner denied the Dark Blues a goal until the arrival of Bruce Ellison in the 24th minute. The former Durham University striker scored with his first touch after Mark Hoskin had broken through the Rhodes' defence.

The visitors, were undaunted by this setback and went into their most successful period of the game in which Murray Vetch and Malcolm Holmes missed easy chances.

Rhodes won their first penalty corner of the game four minutes into the second half, only to see Alan Redfern shoot wide in a well- drilled routine. They were unfortunate, minutes later, to see Wyatt clear off the goal-line at another penalty corner after Vetch followed up Redfern's initial shot.

After Oxford had squandered a total of 11 penalty corners, Adam Laird, picking the ball up some 30 yards from goal, took on a tired South African defence and scored a fine solo goal to put the game beyond doubt.

OXFORD UNIVERSITY: T Wigmore (Christchurch); P Bell (Lincoln); S Liddle (Worcester), J Wyatt (Keble), R Markham (Mansfield); M Hoskin (Keble), S Griffiths (University), G Edwards (capt, Lincoln), A Laird (Brasenose), M Keylock (St Catharine's), R McDowell (St Benet's). Substitute: B Ellison (Keble).

RHODES UNIVERSITY: J Lemmon-Ward (capt); G Morris; A Redfern, N Clogg, T Stirk; J Heath, D McAllister, P Andrew; M Holmes, M Vetch, S Casojee.

Umpires: A Graham and R Southerden (both SCHUA).