England's Under-21 coach, Claire Harvie, who offered to organise the squad on hearing that they were pulling out, said: "It's a great shame for the East girls to miss this opportunity of playing before Peter [Nicholson, the head coach] and myself."
Even more of a shame is the absence of all but one of the girls in the England National Development squad, Joanne Duff, Loughborough Students and Midland's captain, being the exception.
Nevertheless, competition is likely to be fierce as Midlands defend their title. A strong squad, led by medical student Sally Wright from the Premier League Doncaster club, this afternoon start proceedings against the South with the North v West game following.
The South squad, largely selected from the Universities, could lack National League experience and Clifton's keeper Beth Storry could be busy.
Tomorrow's last game between North and Midlands could decide this season's trophy. In addition to Duff, North include Bradford's Sandeep Kaur impressed in last year's competition.Reuse content