Hockey: Lapses prove costly for Chelmsford

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St Albans, the national champions, went down 7-5 to Old Loughtonians in the Adnam East Indoor club championship at Aldenham School, but at the end of two days of play both teams qualified for the national rounds in the 1999 season.

Chelmsford, the overnight leaders, threw away their chance of qualifying when they were brushed aside 9-0 in the opening game on Sunday by Old Loughtonians with South African Andy von Mayer scoring a hat-trick and the Canadian Scott Smith going one better to score four.

The slight hopes Chelmsford had evaporated when they were held to a 5- 5 draw by Spalding in a game which hinged on a missed penalty stroke by Chelmsford's Darren Whitford.

Spalding had built up a 3-1 half-time lead, but Chelmsford fought back and were leading 5-4 when Chris Wilson was given a temporary suspension. He carried on chatting and umpire Steve Graham showed him the red card and permanent suspension from the tournament.

In the Midlands, at the DTZ Tournament at Wyre Forest Glades Arena in Kidderminster, Stourport went into the last game against Barford Tigers, who had already qualified for the national rounds, marginally ahead of Harborne and Khalsa on goal difference.

Despite losing a 7-5 lead with five minutes remaining as Jas Chana scoring the winner, Stourport had done enough to take the second qualifying place by a one-goal advantage over Harborne.

In the North, the old firm of Doncaster and Hull came through while in the West, enjoying the experience of a well structured tournament for the first time for several years, Isca beat Bath 6-3 in the final.

The completed field for the national preliminary round to held at Wyre Forest and Cocks Moors centres on 10 and 11 January is: St Albans, Old Loughtonians, Chelmsford, East Grinstead, Teddington, Reading, Doncaster, Hull, Barford Tigers and Stourport with six to go through to the Crystal Palace finals on Friday 6 February.

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