Swain's sights on promotion
RICHARD Swain has his eyes fixed on promotion as Ipswich seconds approach the halfway stage of their season.His table-topping side tomorrow take on joint leaders Bourne at Henley Road in a game that Swain regards as a "vital six-pointer" and a guide to the rest of the campaign.
By Martin White
RICHARD Swain has his eyes fixed on promotion as Ipswich seconds approach the halfway stage of their season.
His table-topping side tomorrow take on joint leaders Bourne at Henley Road in a game that Swain regards as a "vital six-pointer" and a guide to the rest of the campaign.
"We've had a tremendous start and we have to make sure we keep this sort of run going if we are to compete in Premier Division B of the Printwize East League next year," he said.
After seven straight wins, Ipswich seconds were held to a 1-1 draw at Welwyn Garden City last week, but Swain believes that result will only serve to spur his side on.
"We were probably a little over-confident and didn't play as well as we can, but a win over Bourne will put us in the clear with only one game left before the winter break.
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"The majority of the matches are all against first teams and we have equipped ourselves well, but then we have the advantage of having some very good players," he added.
Andy Cook, who has scored 26 of the side's 56 goals, was the first team's leading scorer for the majority of the past ten years and he has been joined by the likes of defender Nick Fry, Ian Driver, Adam Smith and goalkeeper Tony Burch.
With 21-year-old striker Ivan Smith also playing when first team commitments allow, the team is strong in all areas as many sides have found to their cost already.
Redbridge and Ilford and Harleston Magpies seconds have both been on the end of double figure scores, while Luton let in nine and Cambs Nomads eight as Ipswich ran riot.
Added Swain: "There is tremendous enthusiasm within the side and naturally our aim is to get promoted. We certainly won't be taking Bourne for granted but victory would give us the cushion we need."
The first team face a stern test at Nottingham in Division Two of the English Hockey League, but will have taken heart from the point they gained at East Grinstead.
Skipper Asif Rais said: "That was a game we should have won after being two up early in the second half, but for some reason we then sat back and let them come at us.
"Although we played well, we must be consistent for the full 70 minutes rather than for part of that time. We have the players to do it and we just need to be at our best.
"Nottingham are going through a bit of a rough patch, having lost three of their last four games, but we have no intention of thinking we can just turn up and win. They will be just as keen as us but it would certainly help our cause if we came away with something."
Ipswich thirds, who drew 2-2 with Brentwood seconds take on Old Southendians seconds, while the fourths, 6-0 winners over Wivenhoe with goals from Carl Simpson (2), James Ashby (2), Don Frost and Ricky Varden, face high-flying Saffron Walden.
The fifth team beat Brentwood fourths 3-1 with Ali Black scoring twice after a lengthy injury lay-off, are away to Billericay, while the sixths, trounced
10-0 by Crostyx fourths, entertain Crane seconds in a local derby.
Orwell Ladies, who have lost their last five games in Division Two North of the Printwize East League after a bright start, have a tough task at unbeaten leaders, Harleston.
Their second team, who lost 4-0 to Bury St Edmunds seconds, play Christchurch firsts in the Premier Division of the Suffolk League, while their thirds, who drew 2-2 with Carlton Park, face Mildenhall in Division One.