Ipswich look for twin survival boost
HOCKEY: Ipswich's fight to continue playing national league hockey takes two more vital steps this weekend. Tomorrow they entertain Peterborough at Henley Road and the following day travel to Havant in the knowledge that successive victories would considerably ease their fears.
IPSWICH'S fight to continue playing national league hockey takes two more vital steps this weekend.
Tomorrow they entertain Peterborough at Henley Road and the following day travel to Havant in the knowledge that successive victories would considerably ease their fears.
Defeat in both and Ipswich could well be looking at a return to the East league they left two seasons ago – a scenario that no one connected with the club wants to contemplate.
Survival is the key and the first move can be made against Peterborough who are currently five points ahead of Ipswich.
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Oliver Didham, who grabbed the last-gasp equaliser in last week's 3-3 draw at Formby, scored both as the sides shared four goals earlier in the season and the side's leading scorer will want to add to his tally of six.
Jonathan Cuff returns to the side after missing the last two games through school commitments and skipper Asif Rais said: "There are no injury worries and everyone is really up for both games.
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"We all know the task that faces us but we also believe that our recent style of play will get us the right results and enable us to stay in Division Two of the English Hockey League.
"I have never thought all season that we will either be automatically relegated or be involved in the play-offs with the regional winners and I still hold to those views.
"Both Bromley and Oxford Hawks, the two sides immediately above us, have recently produced some good results, but we are also capable of doing the same.
"Our remaining games are ones we are capable of getting something from and we certainly want to be safe by the time we play our last match at Oxford next month."
The second team, who drew 1-1 with Welwyn Garden City thanks to a Will Turner goal, travel to Bourne for a game that will almost certainly decide the championship.
Ipswich will have a much-changed look to the one that was involved in the 4-4 thriller at Tuddenham Road, but whatever the outcome, the Suffolk side is already assured of promotion.
Alan Mayhew scored both goals for the thirds who beat Brentwood 2-1 and they take on Old Southendians seconds to whom they lost earlier in the season by the odd goal in nine.
The fourth team, who lost 3-2 to Wivenhoe play Saffron Walden firsts, while the fifths, who lost 4-1 to Brentwood fourths are at home to Billericay firsts.
The sixth team game was postponed last week, but they are back in action with a local derby against Crane seconds.
Orwell were well beaten by Norwich City, but are hoping for a better result at home to Wisbech in Division Two North of the Printwize East League while the seconds take on Sudbury and the thirds face Ipswich East Suffolk thirds.