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Hockey: Surrey seeking spirit of Surbiton

SURREY, THE defending county champions, have everything to gain when they tackle Yorkshire in the first semi-final at the Milton Keynes stadium early tomorrow morning.

The Surrey squad, composed entirely of players from the National League First Division champions, Surbiton, has been training together three nights a week since the end of the season. Additionally, as Surbiton, they last week beat Hounslow 3-0 in the first of the two play-offs to decide the last place in next year's Premier League.

Two winning games this weekend and Surbiton should be in good form for next weekend's second leg away to Hounslow on their water-based pitch. Missing from the Surrey line-up is their South African goalscorer Greg Nicol, who returned home after last week's game. Simon Tinkler is also unavailable and is replaced by James Maskell. Yorkshire are drawn mainly from the Doncaster side which finished behind Surbiton.

Cheshire, beaten 1-0 in last season's final by Surrey, will play Sussex, whose goalscoring escapades were the highlight of the preliminary rounds.

On Monday, still at Milton Keynes, the two finals of the Premier League play-offs take place with the winners becoming England's representatives in the European Club Championship next season. Cannock are without the injured Justin Pidcock, while Reading have a doubt concerning Scott Ashdown's ankle. Slough play Clifton Scottish Life in the women's final.