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Hockey: Cities ready to stage slick show

SOME OF Europe's most talented youngsters will be among those competing this weekend for the inaugural Women's World Cities Championship at the Bells Sports Centre in Perth.

The event takes the form of a round robin, allowing each of the seven participating teams an opportunity to measure their skills against the others. The opening games this evening feature Sydney, a strong Australian selection, against Toronto of Canada while Perth, who will be represented by the current Scottish squad, take on the Scottish champions Westcoast Western (Glasgow Western).

Tomorrow London, Manchester and Paris join in. Slough, the English Club champions, will be representing London with their array of internationals including the evergreen Lesley Hobley, who won the first of her four indoor caps way back in 1980. Mandy Nicholson leads the Slough side.

The England Under-21 squad, preparing for the European Championship next month in Prague, will represent Manchester. The squad includes three players - Hightown's Kate Walsh, Clifton's Isabel Palmer and Helen Richardson from Leicester - already capped by England at senior level. The French Under-21 squad will represent Paris.

The English domestic scene is restricted to tomorrow's National League play-offs at Cocks Moors Woods, Birmingham where the five regional winners - North Staffs, Harleston Magpies, Dulwich, Welton and Exeter - will be competing with Sheffield for the two winners to go into next season's Division Two of the National League.