Key players return

AS IF on cue, the cold weather and snow has returned to the UK just in time for Ipswich's return to outdoor league action. After again enjoying a largely successful indoor season and another appearance at the national indoor finals, Ipswich ladies must now re-focus on the second half of the Slazenger EHL Premier League and the different challenges that outdoor hockey brings.

AS IF on cue, the cold weather and snow has returned to the UK just in time for Ipswich's return to outdoor league action.

After again enjoying a largely successful indoor season and another appearance at the national indoor finals, Ipswich ladies must now re-focus on the second half of the Slazenger EHL Premier League and the different challenges that outdoor hockey brings.

Fifth-placed Ipswich's first game in more than seven weeks sees them face second from bottom side Doncaster. The teams have met twice so far this season with Ipswich winning 4-1 in the first league game and 8-5 in the cup.

Despite the previous positive results Ipswich know that every game against this tenacious Yorkshire side is a tough test and there is no doubt that Doncaster's lack of participation in the indoor league has enabled them to spend more time training outdoors in the last two months than Ipswich.


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Even with the recent lack of exposure to the outdoor game the Suffolk side will feel they are more than capable of getting the result they want out of this match.

The team will once again welcome back South African Kate Hector. Hector has been enjoying the South African summer while at home but has not been resting on her laurels as she has been playing for her country for almost the entire month of January. Her match sharpness and tackling will, as ever, be key to a good performance.

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Another player being welcomed back is stalwart defender Kirsten Spencer. Spencer has not played any outdoor league games so far this season after breaking her thumb a week before the league started. With her thumb fully healed she has been working hard on her fitness and is now looking forward to helping the team move up the table.

With the top four teams playing each other, Ipswich know a win on Saturday is a must if they want to move into fourth place and narrow the gap on the top three.

Tuddenham Road is the venue for the opening game of the second half of the Slazenger EHL Division South campaign.

The visitors are Indian Gymkhana, who currently find themselves in third place in the league and scrapping with the likes of Oxted and Old Georgian's for promotion.

Keeper Quays Mir has recovered from injury to take up the number one spot. Gym also welcome the versatile Sukhbir Rihal into the squad, who will be looking to make an impact on their promotion bid after a hamstring injury hampered him for the majority of the opening half of the season.

Ipswich on the other hand, find themselves in a battle to stay in the National League and are currently in ninth place on thirteen points, two points ahead of Plymouth Marjons. The Christmas period saw the home team say goodbye to fiery young midfielder Scott Gilmour who has followed his brother Sean to Peterborough Town to compete in the North League.

Sunday's game, as always with these two teams, promises to be a feisty encounter.

Previous meetings between the two teams have seen Gym win twice and Ipswich win once so Ipswich will be looking to put the record straight on Sunday in a match that starts at 12.30pm.

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