Hockey: Ipswich women's tough task

WomenSlazenger EHL Premier LeagueIpswich v Olton Saturday, noon, Tuddenham Road, Ipswich.A tough weekend of hockey awaits Ipswich Women but for two young players it is the realisation of a hockey ambition.


Slazenger EHL Premier League

Ipswich v Olton Saturday, noon, Tuddenham Road, Ipswich.

A tough weekend of hockey awaits Ipswich Women but for two young players it is the realisation of a hockey ambition.

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Saturday sees third placed Olton and West Warwickshire arrive in Suffolk for a must win league game. Then on Sunday Ipswich travel to Berkshire to take on league leaders Slough for a place in the cup semi-finals.

Making their first team debuts in those games are 17-year old Sophie Kesterton and 15-year-old Chloe Hunnable. Kesterton will be in the squad for Saturday's game, whilst Hunnable will make her debut against Slough on Sunday. For Hunnable it will cap a memorable week with her also making her England U16 debut against Ireland.

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Ipswich occupy seventh place after last weekend defeat to Canterbury.

Emma Lee-Smith is not available but Leisa King and Millie Sharp are welcomed back into the squad. King's experience will be vital in this clash.

Olton are missing their two key players, Rachel Walker and Lucilla Wright as they, along with Ipswich's Jo Ellis, are in Australia with the GB squad.

Despite fielding a slightly weakened side the visitors will still pack a punch, none more so than through ex-GB player and striker Denise Marston-Smith.

“We really only played well for about 15 minutes against Canterbury and in that time scored 2 goals” said Manager Donna Mills. “If we can follow the game plan and maintain our discipline then I know we can put Olton under real pressure.”

Sunday's cup game will be a different match all together. With the fixture brought forward a week due to Slough's European Indoor commitments; the winners will have the opportunity to claim the first semi-final place. Slough as ever will prove a tough test and look to be red hot favourites. Ipswich will field Emma Lee-Smith free who is free from her army duties and will boost the midfield.



Slazenger EHL South Division

Teddington v Ipswich

Ipswich are looking forward to Sunday's fixture against Teddington who they crushed 8-4 in the first half of the season.

However, with Teddington looking to restore some element of their pride and the home team could prove quite a surprise if Ipswich arrive expecting a stroll around the park.

Not only that but after gaining their first point of the season against Holcombe two weeks ago, Teddington appeared to be reviving their battered fortunes.

However, last weekend they were punished at home by a ruthless Oxted 5-0 and now average scoring just 1.4 goals per game, and conceding 4.2 per game.

The future has never looked bleaker for Teddington, one of England's longest serving clubs and facing a third successive demotion from the glorious heights of the national premier.

They must be wondering what they have done to deserve this and it is exactly the feeling Ipswich intend to exploit and expose.

After a close run 6-4 defeat against Indian Gymkhana, Ipswich see a return to the team of talisman Phil Messent, while Ben Ghallagher and Micky Franklin Jnr rejoin after schoolboy championships

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