Hockey: St Albans may miss nationals

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The Independent Online
THIS weekend could be the last appearance of the great St Albans side of recent years. Having lost their national title last month to East Grinstead after five successive titles, they are now faced with the strong possibility that they will be unable to reclaim it next season.

They have been banned for a year from the East Super League - which this year provided the East qualifier for the national finals - for not fulfilling fixtures last December, and seem likely to miss out on the national finals next season.

The captain, Andy Halliday, said: 'We accept we should be punished but a fine and a year's ban is excessive. No account seems to have been taken of the contribution St Albans have made in the past to the game. We are, of course, appealing against the decision.'

St Albans and Hightown Ladies, the two sides who have dominated the domestic indoor scene in the last decade, will this weekend fly the English flag in the European indoor club championships in Berlin and Vienna.

Hightown, who last weekend won their seventh national title in a thrilling battle with Ipswich, finished a disappointing fifth in last year's European competition in Russelsheim, their first experience of European competition.

Yet their captain and coach, Maggie Souyave, is confident they can improve on last year's result.