Hockey: Royce hopes to roll over leaders

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The Independent Online
Teddington will play a key role in shaping the top of the Premier Division of the National League by Sunday evening.

The coach, Jon Royce, will be eager to start both matches, against Old Loughtonians today and tomorrow at the joint leaders Reading,in the same attacking style that his side showed at Guildford last Sunday.

Then, Teddington scored four goals in the first 14 minutes before their concentration faltered, and Guildford were allowed to reply in kind. Only when the Surrey side were reduced to eight men were Teddington finally able to snatch the winner.

The leaders both expect to be strengthened by the return of Great Britain Olympic players. Julian Halls is back for Old Loughts and Reading's captain, Jon Wyatt, returns from an overseas business trip.

At the bottom, it will be a crucial weekend for Havant. The three-times champions in the eight years of the National League have yet to score a point this season. Today they visit Canterbury - who will be without the defender Jon Evennett, after his surgery on a leg injury this week - and tomorrow they entertain Hounslow, who are also struggling this year.

The Havant manager, Chris Pickett, said: "Don't write us off yet. It's only a matter of time before we get our act together and start scoring goals."

The Hounslow goalkeeper, Nick Taylor, will be well aware of Pickett's fierce corner striking ability, as Taylor has been on the the receiving end of the England Under-21 manager's prowess during international warm- ups. It could be that the manager will make his league debut.

Beeston, the First Division leaders, travel to Oxford tomorrow to face the University who, although in 18th place, can be expected to provide tough opposition.

Last season, after a similarly slow start, the students finished second to the Nottingham club. Graham Griffiths, the Beeston manager, said: "I expect Gavin [Featherstone] has just about sorted them out and it will not be an easy game - but I expect we will return with full points."

Keith Reesby, who returned to Beeston from Teddington at the beginning of the season, will be in their starting line-up for the first time.

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