THE STRENGTH in depth of Old Loughtonians Hockey Club was shown on Sunday as their under-16 boys team won the RAF sponsored EHA Essex Cup at Luxborough Lane.

The young Loughts now move on to the East of England preliminaries this Sunday at Redbridge Sports Centre.

After overcoming the much-fancied Felstead School 2-0 in the semi-final thanks to goals from skipper Alistair Gunn and Darren Cheesman, the Chigwell side faced Braintree in the final.

Loughts cruised to a 3-0 victory, dominating the midfield even though Braintree had two England under-16 players in their line-up.

Coach John Wright, who had to change his line-up with three players cup tied, said: "We have great depth in our squad and were able to draft in other quality players to balance the side."

The under-14s also put in a good show, reaching the semi-finals, before going down 2-0 to Braintree.

Meanwhile, Spanish forward Juan Escarre is still waiting to make his Loughts debut after Sunday's senior friendly against St Albans was cancelled.

Newly-signed Escarre, rated by skipper Nick Thompson as one of the top three players in the world, should make his debut in the outdoor league match against Surbiton later this month.

He is ineligible for the indoor finals night tomorrow (Friday) as he has already played indoor hockey this season for Alicante. This is clearly a blow to Loughts as he was named most valuable player at the European Indoor Nations Cup.

Escarre's former team-mates from Alicante are disappointed to lose him but believe he will succeed in England.

American international Shawn Hindy said: "Obviously, we will miss him quite a bit. His primary reason for going to England is to play at a very high level and to get back into the form that he had before he was injured last year. In England, he can fully concentrate on training, playing and improving."