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Oxted face tough test in Vase clash

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OXTED Ladies are gearing up for a long trip north this week as they continue their bid to retain the National Vase.

The O's won the competition for the first time last season, defeating Milton Keynes 3-0 to lift the trophy last April.

Now, they are preparing to take on Cheshire side Lymm on Sunday in the quarter-final of this year's competition.

And O's captain Lisa Nightingale, who scored in the final last year, said the squad's focus will turn completely towards retaining the title now that their promotion hopes have faded for this season.

A 0-0 draw with Barnes on Saturday put paid to any glimmering hope of promotion from the Surrey Premier Division, but Nightingale said the O's still wanted to finish the season on a high.

"Of course, promotion has gone now," she said.

"But we still want to finish the season well and to finish second and do well again in the Vase would be a pretty good year.

"It was amazing to win the Vase last year and it was an incredible feeling that we would love to repeat this year."

That's not to say that the O's expect anything but a tough task on their long journey north.

"They look a strong side and pretty formidable to be honest," said Nightingale.

"They got to the quarter-finals of the Vase last year and we will have to be at our best to get the result we want."

The O's squad of 13 will make the 441-mile round trip after their final league match against Spencer on Saturday, staying in a hotel near Lymm prior to the match-up on Sunday.

"It will be good for team bonding," she said.

"It is the furthest we will have travelled for a game by quite some distance, but it will be good to go away and play a completely new side and see what hockey is like up there in other parts of the country.

"We enjoy playing against teams that we don't normally get the chance to play as it can get a bit boring when you are playing the same teams."

Nightingale added, however, that the O's would be wanting a home draw in the semi-finals if they prevail in the quarter-final clash.

"A win on Sunday and a home semi-final would be nice," she said.


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