Hockey: Cool Cullen provides a late leveller to thwart Leverkusen: Hightown earn their reward while Sutton give Swansea a thrashing despite missing a host of penalty-corner chances

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BRITISH fortunes looked promising on the opening day of the European Cup-Winners' Cup competition in Birmingham yesterday. There were wins for Hounslow and First Personnel Sutton Coldfield and a draw for Hightown.

Hightown's performance in the opening game against Bayer Leverkusen in the women's section was probably the best British performance of the day. Setting the tournament in motion in torrential rain with a spirited performance, they deserved their lead with a goal from Nancy Stokes in the 26th minute.

After the Germans had equalised through Franziska Hentschel six minutes into the second half the game livened up in the closing three minutes. Ilhelm Merabet put the Germans into the lead. Hightown replied with a tremendous assault on the Bayer goal. Tina Cullen dived headlong to finish off a move, initiated by Lorraine Marsden and Linda Carr, for the final touch of the game and a dramatic and deserved equaliser.

Jane Swinnerton led the way with three goals for the women's Cup holders, First Personnel Sutton Coldfield, in a 5-0 win over Swansea. Sutton were off to a splendid start with a goal from their second penalty corner six minutes into the game, Swinnerton opening her account.

With Jane Sixsmith and Fionnuala McCarthey creating havoc in the Swansea defence, it was all one-way traffic, with the goalkeeper, Helen Morgan, making a string of outstanding saves before Sixsmith weaved her way through for their second goal four minutes before the interval. Sutton iced their cake with Swinnerton completing her hat-trick and McCarthey making it five.

Hounslow's game in the men's group against Torbrex Wanderers, leaders of the Scottish National League, was as one-sided as the 7-1 scoreline suggested. The new England cap, Rob Crutchley, gave them the lead from a penalty corner in the 13th minute. Dave Hacker increased the score five minutes later from a penalty stroke with Jon Rees collecting a third before the interval.

Hounslow continued to dominate the second half with further goals from Rob Thompson, Crutchley and two from Stephen Hankins.