Hockey: Oxford to pull rank on rivals

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The Independent Online
OXFORD are firm favourites to win the 94th University Match at Reading Hockey Club today and extend their run to four successive victories, but they still have some way to go before catching Cambridge, who currently lead with 44 wins compared with Oxford's 33.

Although Cambridge have a greater number of Blues - eight against Oxford's six - this is where the Light Blues' advantage ends. Last year, Oxford not only won 3-0 in a match dominated by Grant Edwards, their New Zealand captain, but they also obtained National League status. This season they have grown in stature, finishing in fourth place in the Second Division.

Steffan Griffiths, the captain, is still able to call on Edwards as well as the South African captain, Wayne Daniel, and has added two players with First Division experience, Martin Le Huray from Teddington and Bournville's Chris Bloor. However, Griffiths has not been able to name his starting line-up because of injury doubts surrounding the Irish Under-21 international, Peter Bell. If Bell fails a late fitness test it is expected that Jonathan Pratt will take his place in defence.

Milo Carver, the Cambridge captain, has seen his team disrupted by injuries this season and they have also found goals hard to come by. So much so that Carver is expected to move himself from midfield to centre-forward in the hope of rectifying the problem.

OXFORD UNIVERSITY (from): O Wessely (Worcester); *R Markham (Worcester), *S Mackay (Templeton); R MacDowel (St Benet's Hall), *P Bell (Lincoln); C Bloor (Keble), *S Griffiths (capt, University), *G Edwards (Lincoln); M Le Huray (Keble), D Edwards (St Edmund Hall), *W Graham (Keble); J Pratt (University), A Khan (Christ Church). Substitutes: S Culliford (St Catherine's), M Emes (St John's), W Kendall (Keble).

CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY: D Lynch (Gonville and Caius); *J Stott (Holmerton); S Padfield (Gonville and Caius), *A Walther (Trinity), *R Cake (St John's); *T McCarthy (St John's), *C Carter (Girton), *J Foley (St John's); R Stevens (Hughes Hall), *M Carver (capt, Corpus Christi), *D Bolgar (Homerton). Substitutes: W Ashworth (Emmanuel), J Francis (Robinson), D Harding (Robinson), C Lawrence (Peterhouse), P Poitrowicz (Fitzwilliam).

* Blue