Teddington begin delayed defence

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The Independent Online
Hockey

Teddington, the National League champions, who played in the Club Tournament in The Hague last weekend, and missed the opening of the league programme, begin their campaign tomorrow with a home game against newly promoted St Alban's.

The Welsh international, Tyrone Moore, and Renwick Irvine, who missed the Dutch trip, where Teddington finished a disappointing seventh, return to the squad. But there are still doubts about England's Phil McGuire.

Even so, the Welsh international Walid Abdo, has been unable to find a place in the squad which includes the new signing from Beeston, Keith Reesby, their penalty corner specialist. Teddington's manager, Neil Campling, said of last week's tournament: "An excellent warm-up, but we were well behind the standard of the leading Dutch club. Any of the teams which competed were capable of winning our league."

Old Loughtonians, with their new coach, Billy McPherson, visit Hampshire to play the three-times champions, Havant, with both teams considerably changed and rebuilding from last season. Loughtonians have been into the transfer market and recruited a number of internationals including Scotland's David Ralph and England's Jason Lee and Matt Sutton, while Havant have relied on their own very well-developed youth programme to fill their gaps. Again, a corner specialist, England's Calum Giles could tip the scales in this match.

Loughtonians will be without English international Julian Halls, who goes into hospital for a hernia operation next week and expects to be missing for about six weeks. Havant announce an unchanged squad with Steve Baker having recovered from last Sunday's head injury against Cannock.

Another English international missing is Southgate's captain Soma Singh from their game against Reading which could give an early pointer for championship aspirations.

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