Hockey: Hightown hit by fixture clash

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IN a hectic weekend of European championship hockey several clubs will be hit by clashing events as they step out in the opening games this morning, none more so than Hightown in the Cup-Winners' Cup competition in Leuven, Belgium.

The experienced European campaigners, who took a bronze in the Club Championship event last season, have seven of their squad playing for England Under- 18s in the European Six Nations event at Milton Keynes and an eighth, Rachel Walsh, in the Under-16s.

Mother Barbara, Hightown's manager, was philosophical at having to miss seeing Rachel and elder sister Kate with the Under 18s, but did feel clashes should be avoided.

Reading, also in Belgium striving to get England back into the A Division of the Club Championship, are also short. Jon Loose is with the England Under-18s and they will only have limited use of their Olympic captain, Jon Wyatt, who will be restricted by injury to being involved in their penalty corner routine.

Teddington have arrived here, at the headquarters of their sponsor Acer, with two doubtful starters and could be without Andy Billson today. They arrived here on Wednesday to learn their hosts had the previous evening become Dutch champions.

Fortunately they miss them and the Germans, Harvesthuder from Hamburg, in the pool games and expect to meet one of them in Monday's final.

At Southgate, Slough will need to be at full strength and at their best when they meet HGC, from Wassenaar, last season's Dutch champions, on Sunday in their final pool game. A win would almost certainly give them a final appearance on Monday against Russelsheimer.