Hockey: Slough stripped by international calls

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The Independent Online
TOMORROW'S Women's Cup final between Slough and Clifton Scottish Life has been devalued by the absence of international players on both sides because of intransigent attitudes and lack of foresight by the English Hockey Association.

Slough, going for a unique treble of Indoor, National League and Cup titles will be missing five Internationals, as they were for the semi- finals. The coach, John Shaw, was still "upbeat" about their chances saying: "I am miles away from worrying about absent players. We have a large squad and I am still confident we can win."

Karen Brown, Mandy Nicholls and Jane Smith are in England's World Cup squad, whilst Sue MacDonald is in Scotland's. Sarah Kelleher is wanted by Ireland for their game against Wales.

Clifton will be missing Welsh international Rachel O'Brien and have doubts about leading goalscorer Denise Marston-Smith, who fractured her wrist in their semi-final win against Hightown. The wrist came out of plaster on Thursday but it is doubtful that she will play.

Appearing in their third successive final and still without a trophy, Clifton are, in the words of their captain, Tammy Miller: "Looking forward to the game having already secured a place in Europe." On the absence of international players she said: "The competition has been greatly devalued but we can only play the team put before us."