OXFORD City Stars play Billingham Eagles in the first leg of the semi-finals of the English National Ice Hockey League play-offs tomorrow (5.45) in a re-arranged game.

The original fixture against Telford was cancelled late on Thursday night as it did not affect qualification and would have delayed the start of the semi-finals.

Billingham were runners-up to Whitley Bay in the play-offs last year, but this season have won the Northern Section play-off qualifiers.

The team have been running since 1971 (they were formerly known as Cleveland Bombers) and when Oxford started up in 1984, they recruited Tom Smith and Paul Simpson from the Cleveland club.

The Eagles' best-known player is Andre Malo, a former GB international, who played for Sheffield Steelers in the Seconda Superleague last season and is now their player-coach.

Their top scorer for the last four seasons has been local player Paul (Spike) Windridge, who is a fine playmaker.

Oxford expect to ice a near full-strength team. While several players took facial injuries from high sticks last weekend at Flintshire, Josh Grocutt and Matt Cameron in particular, they all expect to play.

Steve Cameron has recovered from the dizzy spells that made him sit out part of the last game, and Glen West is likely to return after his late withdrawal from the trip to Flintshire.

Oxford may decide to lengthen their bench with some more under 19 players.

Trevor Joseph is now likely to sit out the rest of the season, while Bill Morra returns to Canada on May 5, but will be available for the second leg of the semi-final at Billingham on Sunday, April 29.

Stars: from M Cameron, Roberts, Grocutt, Elliott, Cox, S Cameron, C West, Hardy, G West, Turner, J Cameron, Donohoe, Williams, Bennett, Stroud, Roberts, Lay, Morra, Flint.

STARS under 19s lost their first play-off game at Peterborough last Saturday and try to recover from that with a trip to Romford today.

Play-off fixtures - today: Romford v Oxford City Stars. Sunday April 22: Stars v Chelmsford. Sunday April 29: Chelmsford v Stars. Saturday May 5: Stars v Peterborough. Sunday May 6: Stars v Romford.