Huge test in hockey cup dress rehearsal

IPSWICH Ladies face fourth-placed Bowdon Hightown tomorrow at Tuddenham Road in a dress rehearsal of their forthcoming cup semi-final (start 2pm).The two sides are due to meet in the second semi-final of the cup on March 31 and both teams will want to claim the psychological upper hand in what will be Ipswich's final Slazenger EHL Premier League home game of the season.

IPSWICH Ladies face fourth-placed Bowdon Hightown tomorrow at Tuddenham Road in a dress rehearsal of their forthcoming cup semi-final (start 2pm).

The two sides are due to meet in the second semi-final of the cup on March 31 and both teams will want to claim the psychological upper hand in what will be Ipswich's final Slazenger EHL Premier League home game of the season.

With only three league games to go, sixth-placed Ipswich will be looking for the highest league finish as possible, while visitors Hightown still have an outside shot at a top-two finish.

The last time the two teams met up in Manchester the result was a 2-2 draw - a scoreline that has been repeated by Ipswich over their last four league games, but neither team would be happy with that result.

Ipswich hope to have overcome their main fitness worries, but Vic Sandall and Kirsten Spencer will both face late fitness tests to see if they are fully fit to play.

With the cup now the team's main priority coach Nick Thompson will be not keen to risk them and Ipswich may have to settle for the same squad that has turned in two good performances over the last two weekends.

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Hightown will travel south knowing that they need to register a win to keep them in the hunt for second place. With their striker Tina Cullen leading the league's top scorer list it is no surprise that she will be considered to be the home team's biggest threat.

For Ipswich it is good to see strikers Jenny Hall and Sarah Tallent linking up well and Tallent will be looking for her third goal in three games this weekend. Hall too will be keen to add to her goal tally, after celebrating her 18th birthday on Friday it would be a special strike for the talented teenager.

While there is no doubt this will be a tough game for the Suffolk side, as long as Ipswich repeat the same sort of play that they produced in the first half of last weekend's 2-2 draw at Chelmsford then a home victory is definitely on the cards.

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