Hockey: RAF warm to the Friendship factor

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The Independent Online
The Signaal Inter-Services Championship at Portsmouth ended yesterday in a surprise 2-1 defeat of the Army by the Royal Navy after a tense final game. The Navy's eighth-minute lead from Mark McLintock was short-lived as James Boyce equalised six minutes later. The winning goal came from Paul Friendship five minutes into the second half.

The RAF, by virtue of their wins earlier in the week over both teams, regained the "Indian Army" Trophy they last won in 1995. The Army beat the the Navy 5-2 to win the women's title.

Slough, if they are to achieve their ambition of a fifth women's National League title, will have to be at their best over the weekend, hoping their first-choice goalkeeper, Sue Knight, will be available for their crucial games against Sutton Coldfield today and their rearranged game tomorrow against Trojans. Lynnette Smith stands by to deputise. Slough trail Ipswich by four points but have a game in hand. Assuming Slough win their two games this weekend, the title is likely to be decided when the two teams meet the Saturday after Easter.

Trojans' concern is at the other end of the table. The Southampton club have had a disappointing season and have not won since October. They are unlikely to get much relief away to Clifton today, nor at Slough.

Hightown, the champions who have lost all their League games since beating Trojans in November, will again be without Maggie Souyave, the England coach, and could well struggle at home to Doncaster, who beat them 8-2 in their earlier fixture.

SIGNAAL INTER-SERVICES TOURNAMENT (Portsmouth): RN 2 Army 1 (RAF champions). Under-23: RN 3 Army 2 (RN champions). Veterans: RN 4 Army 2. (RAF champions). Women: RN 2 Army 5. (Army champions).

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