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Canterbury Hockey Club captain Tom Richford hopes three new signings will fire Polo Farm side to NOW; Pensions Premier Division safety

By Alex Hoad

Canterbury Hockey Club have boosted their side with three new signings who bullish skipper Tom Richford hopes can fire them to NOW: Pensions National Premier Division safety.

The Polo Farm outfit are bottom of the table with 10 losses from their opening 11 games and only have seven more fixtures to bridge an effectively eight-point gap to safety.

The city club scored just 18 goals before the festive break, but Richford revealed they were welcoming former Australian international Craig Boyne, one-time Pakistan player Adnan Zakir and Mexican international Francisco Aguilar Montoya, known as ‘Paco’ to bolster their attacking options during the run-in.

The trio made an immediate impact, all scoring as Canterbury won 3-2 in a friendly at a strong Surbiton side on Sunday during their final preparations before the season resumes with Sunday’s visit of Hampstead & Westminster to Polo Farm (12.45pm).

Richford said: “Surbiton are right up there in the league and had a very strong team out so we can take a lot of confidence from it, and the three new-boys all scored."

He added: “Sunday is a very important game. We think four wins in the last seven will give us a good chance of staying up, but we need every point we can.

“They (Hampstead & Westminster) have New Zealand international Andy Hayward who scores short corners for fun, so we have to try and prepare for that."

Canterbury captain Tom Richford. Picture: Tony Flashman.
Canterbury captain Tom Richford. Picture: Tony Flashman.

Meanwhile Canterbury Ladies player-coach Jen Wilson says her side are desperate to ‘hit the ground running’ when they travel to Buckingham on Saturday (12pm) for the resumption of their Investec national Premier Division campaign.

Having played 11 of their 18 games before the festive break, the city club lie six points behind leaders Surbiton, while second-placed Clifton are also six-points ahead but have played a game more.

Wilson says she faces a selection dilemma as her squad are fully-fit, with Dirkie Chamberlain returning having played a series of Test matches for South Africa in the past fortnight.

Third-bottom Buckingham have lost eight of their 11 games but Wilson warned: “Our focus over the break has been to step our fitness up a level, we feel it’s going to be important, and the players have already taken that challenge on board impressively.

“We want to hit the ground running and it really is important for us to get a win. We’re not worrying too much about what other teams do at this stage, we are focused on us, but we want to get off to a good start to the run-in.”

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