Hightown hit the heights

Hockey
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The Independent Online
Hightown, the Women's Premier League leaders, will be missing when the League resumes tomorrow after the mid-winter break - they will be in Slovakia for the European Indoor Club Championship.

This is their fourth appearance in the event, and they will be hoping to improve on their third place in Berlin in 1993 - a difficult task as they have been drawn in the same pool as Berliner, the German champions, and Edinburgh Ladies.

With Sutton Canada Life, at home to the bottom club Bracknell, likely to close the three-point gap at the top but requiring to win by at least six goals to go ahead of Hightown, there are unlikely to be new leaders tomorrow evening.

Third-placed Clifton entertain last year's champions Slough in a crucial game. Their manager, Graham Culliford, was yesterday trying to piece together a squad: with Lorraine Marsden with Hightown, Great Britain international Charlotte Merrett at a Welsh Under-21 training weekend, another Welsh international, Rachel O'Bryan, absent and one or two others doubtful, tomorrow's squad is likely to have an unfamiliar look about it.

Slough expect to be at full strength and will be out to avenge the 2- 1 defeat at home at the beginning of the season.

Ipswich, at home to Doncaster, will have Nikki Osborne in goal in place of Britain's Jo Thompson, who is recovering from a knee operation.

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