Hockey: Slough look strong enough

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The Independent Online
THE NEW league season swings into action tomorrow and will finish with the newly introduced Premiership play-offs at Milton Keynes on 3 May which will decide the European entries.

The champions, Slough, visit Melton Mowbray to play newly promoted Fyffes Leicester. Slough, although missing several key players including the English internationals Karen Brown and Lucy Cope and the South African Ashleigh Wallace, should return home with the points. They will be strengthened by the return of Anna Bennett, who has missed the past two seasons with injury, and the arrival of the England's Under-21 captain, Jo Fletcher.

Second-placed Clifton Scottish Life, again captained by Tammy Miller, entertain Sutton Coldfield. New faces at the West Country club include the RAF officer Lucy Newcombe, who is just back from the Commonwealth Games, and, from Chelmsford, Maria Wooding and Lisa Hunter, along with Isabel Palmer from Colwall. Clifton also have a new coach in David Ward.

There will be two new coaches on duty at Ipswich for their game against Olton. Nicky Thompson will be on the Ipswich bench with Debbie Leonard having taken over at Olton, the club having parted company with Gavin Featherstone, who guided them during the past four years taking them into the Premiership.

Ipswich will be without their captain, Sandie Lister, who is in Australia with the England indoor cricket squad and their leading goal-scorer, the police officer Sarah Bamfield.

In the remaining Premier game of the day Doncaster visit Hightown with the addition of the Olton defender Sally Wright to their ranks.