Hockey: Halls returns to test Teddington: Cup final lift for old boys

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The Independent Online
THE return of Julian Halls following a double hernia operation will be a big boost to Old Loughtonians in their Hockey Association Cup final against Teddington at Birmingham University tomorrow.

Halls, who missed the last three matches for Great Britain when they played in the Champions' Trophy in Lahore at the end of March, is a rugged defender who has been an influential player in the side who finished third in the PizzaExpress National League, following his recall to the England and GB squads.

Another player more recently recalled with something to prove will be the striker Nick Thompson. Together, he and Neil Barker have scored 32 of their record 48 league goals and will be the danger men to Teddington.

Teddington, beaten in the last two finals by Hounslow and also seeking their first national title, clearly feel their turn for success has arrived.

Their player-manager, Neil Campling, said yesterday: 'The mood in the camp following our European experience is confident. We have a strong desire to get back into Europe and we go in with high expectations.'

Finishing fifth in the league, Teddington reserved their best performances of the season for a semi-final win over Hounslow and then taking the bronze medal in the European Cup Winners' Cup in Terrassa.

The experiment of playing Jason Laslett, their Great Britain and England centre-half, at centre-forward in Terrassa was a great success and they are likely to continue playing him in this role tomorrow.

Paul Way, the defender who missed Europe with a dislocated shoulder, is back in the Teddington squad. It seems unlikely, however, that the club's coach, Jon Royce, will disturb the full-back partnership of Phil McGuire and Simon Nicklin, which he used in the later games in Europe.

Old Loughtonians (from): A Seaton (capt), J Halls, G Crymble, I Morris, D Allen, C Hector, N Barker, A Philpot, C Gladman, N Thompson, P Krishman, S Ashton, S Robinson, M Donnelly, S Loftus, H Ford.

Teddington (from): G Meredith, J Wallis, P McGuire, S Nicklin, A Colclough, J Hauck, C Camburn, T Moore, P Gibbins, J Laslett (capt), A Billson, M Riley, P Way, R Irvine, R Benzies, N Campling.