Ipswich second team face tough cup final

IPSWICH Hockey Club's second team take on Leicester in the National 2nd XI Cup final tomorrow.Ipswich's link with the competition can be traced back to 2000 when the Tuddenham Road side became the first-ever second team to win a regional league, beating Cambridge City to the East Womens' title.

IPSWICH Hockey Club's second team take on Leicester in the National 2nd XI Cup final tomorrow.

Ipswich's link with the competition can be traced back to 2000 when the Tuddenham Road side became the first-ever second team to win a regional league, beating Cambridge City to the East Womens' title.

Frustrating rules prevent a club's second team entering the National League and the seconds were denied a chance to prove themselves at the next level, their place going to the runners-up.

Ipswich lobbied England Hockey hard to change the ruling but to no avail and only one year later Canterbury II followed Ipswich's lead and also won the East League.

Frustrated by the lack of opportunity offered to second teams of successful National League clubs, both teams kept up pressure on

England Hockey for a suitable solution.

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Partly as a result of that pressure the 2nd XI Cup was born.

Fittingly this season's cup final, now in its fourth year, sees the team who played such a large part in its creation battling it out for the ultimate second team prize.

Leicester will be tough opponents in the final at Bowden Hockey Club and the Suffolk side will be expecting the club whose first XI are the current English champions to field a particularly strong team.

The East Division One league champions will travel north today disappointed to be missing hard-working vice-captain Jenny Ellis, but heartened by the continued strong form of their up-and-coming youngsters, particularly Emily Masson and Lisa Jones, who played extremely well in the final training match against Harleston under-18s on Tuesday.

Captain Kat Wrinch has a strong squad for the final and will be looking to capitalise on the blend of youth and experience which has proven so successful this season.

Leading goalscorer Leisa King will be looking to add to her tally before the season ends, while goalkeeper and captain-elect Claire Gould will want to keep a clean sheet in the final game of the 2006/7 season before she takes over her new role.

A healthy team spirit has prevailed this year and the entire squad will want to work together to reward the support of their sponsor, Seven, and coaches Mark Wrinch and Geoff Reed by bringing the 2nd XI Cup back to Ipswich for the first time.

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