Old Boys face fierce challenge

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The Independent Online
Hockey

BILL COLWILL

Same format, same clubs and Old Loughtonians will be hoping for the same result this evening when they defend their National Indoor title at Crystal Palace.

The Old Boys, who play in the European Championship next weekend in Brussels, will be strong favourites to retain their title tonight but they may need to show greater discipline than they did last season when they beat Barford Tigers in the final despite being reduced to four players at one stage when Nick Thompson was sent off after scoring a hat-trick.

The draw has been unkind to the three past champions from the South, East Grinstead, St Albans and the Old Boys, who have been drawn in the same group.

The Old Boys' biggest threat will come from the seven times winners, St Albans. They welcome back the Guildford player-coach, Ian Jennings, and the junior internationals Ben Cope and Henning Tewes, who are both at Oxford University.

The winners of that group will meet in the final either, Barford, Hull or Stourport, who include the Olympic gold medallist Imran Sherwani in their ranks.

NATIONAL INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIP (Crystal Palace): 3.15 Stourport v Hull; 4.10 East Grinstead v St Albans; 5.05 Hull v Barford Tigers; 6.0 Old Loughtonians v East Grinstead; 6.55 Barford Tigers v Stourport; 7.55 St Albans v Old Loughtonians. 8.55 Whitgift School v Kingston Grammar School. 9.45 Final.

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