Hockey: Staffordshire bolstered by Sherwani

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IT IS 22 years since Staffordshire, who play Hampshire in the final stages of the Norwich Union County Championship at Cannock this morning, won the competition, writes Bill Colwill. With so many first-choice players unavailable, predictions are not easy, but the host county, based on the Cannock club, include the internationals, Imran Sherwani, from Stourport, and Soma Singh, from Southgate, and could return to the winners' rostrum tomorrow.

County sides are often centred on one club, but Middlesex have gone one step further this season because of fixture clashes. Hampstead represented them in the preliminary rounds and this weekend, with Hampstead not available, they have called upon Teddington.

With their HA Cup final against Hounslow on 2 May, the Teddington club have every incentive. A place in tomorrow's final is well within their grasp. They play Essex today while the defending champions, Yorkshire, oppose Cambridgeshire.

In the semi-finals of the women's AEWHA Cup, the League champions, Ipswich, should keep on course for the first League and Cup double when they entertain Ealing.

First Personnel Sutton Coldfield, who were a disappointing fifth in the women's European Cup-Winners' Cup in Birmingham last weekend, will be looking for better form at Leicester, who will be without Sarah Naylor. She is running in the London Marathon. When the teams met earlier this year in the League at Cannock, Sutton won 3-0, but since then Leicester have improved vastly.