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Our season starts here

PUBLISHED: 13:18 01 March 2002 | UPDATED: 11:27 03 March 2010

MEN'S HOCKEY: Ipswich will fancy their chances of hauling themselves clear of the relegation zone when they take on Formby tomorrow. Although bottom of Division Two of the English Hockey League, the Henley Road side have plenty of reasons to believe they can escape from their current perilous situation – and skipper Asif Rais believes his side's season starts on Merseyside.

IPSWICH will fancy their chances of hauling themselves clear of the relegation zone when they take on Formby tomorrow.

Although bottom of Division Two of the English Hockey League, the Henley Road side have plenty of reasons to believe they can escape from their current perilous situation – and skipper Asif Rais believes his side's season starts on Merseyside.

A storming display against runaway leaders Belper should have brought them at least a point and if they recapture that gutsy performance at Formby then they can leapfrog the two teams ahead of them.

Oxford Hawks are not in action, while Bromley will do well to beat Blueharts.

Oliver Didham returns to the Ipswich fold after missing last week's game, but midfielder Jonathan Cuff is still unavailable due to commitments at Framlingham College.

Front runner Ivan Smith is back from suspension, but will play for the second team at home to Welwyn Garden City, while Toby Lever, who played his part at right defender against Belper, deservedly keeps his place in the side.

Rais said today: "I couldn't fault the team's performance against Belper and thought we deserved something from it.

"As far as I'm concerned, our season starts tomorrow and all our remaining six games are winnable. We have a job to do and all the players are up for what lies ahead.

"We won't go to Formby in a cocky fashion thinking that we almost turned Belper over as that would be a big mistake. However, we should all rise to the occasion as everyone knows

exactly what is at stake."

Ipswich seconds lost their unbeaten record with a 1-0 defeat against lowly Harleston, while an Alan Mayhew hat-trick and another goal from Gary Scarf was not enough for the thirds who drew 4-4 with Havering seconds and tomorrow are at home to Brentwood.

The fourth team beat Sudbury seconds 2-1 with goals from Alistair Livingstone and Ben Turland. and travel to Wivenhoe, while the fifth team, thrashed 7-0 by Marconi, play Brentwood fourths.

The sixth team beat Southend 3-1 and have a difficult game at Crostyx, but Orwell Ladies, who go to Norwich, had their home game with Pelicans called off due to a sudden hail and snow storm.

Their second team, who lost 6-0 to Ipswich East Suffolk seconds have no Suffolk League game tomorrow, while the thirds, who lost to Stour Valley, play Castaway seconds.


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