Hockey: In-form Gymkhana may stretch leaders: Southgate's stiff work-out

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The Independent Online
SOUTHGATE, the PizzaExpress First Division leaders, will need to be on their toes for tomorrow's visit of Indian Gymkhana. Although in the lower reaches of the league, Gymkhana have already drawn with Hounslow, Cannock and Teddington - three of the top five clubs. They possess a sturdy defence and on the break can pose problems to the best organised of sides, writes Bill Colwill.

Second-placed Hounslow are at home to Welton and have doubts about their winger Nick Gordon's fitness but are otherwise at full strength and should be assured of three points. Third-placed Havant travel to Bristol where Rob Hill will be hoping to rediscover his goalscoring form against his old club, Firebrands.

Old Loughtonians' unbeaten record and their last chance of a serious challenge for league honours could go at Teddington, where they will be seriously handicapped by the absence of Chris Gladman and Steve Ashton on a tour in India and Colin Hector, who plays for Scotland in their European Indoor qualifier in Oporto. Teddington will need to keep a tight grip on their former striker Neil Barker, the First Division's top scorer with nine to his credit.

Another unbeaten side are the much-improved Cannock, who should have little difficulty collecting the points against struggling Canterbury, yet to register a win. St Albans, desperately in need of points, have their two Bedford School Germany Under-16 internationals - Philipp Crone and Renaldo Poppel - available again for their visit to Reading. Lining up against them will be one of their colleagues from that team, Christoph Eimer.