Walker poised to cash in for England

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The Independent Online

England are hoping money problems for Australia will unsettle the contest favourites when the first world federation World Cup starts in Malaysia tomorrow.

The mixed competition has found the Australians starved of funds and they will take only the two men and one woman needed for the event. flying replacements into Kuala Lumpur only if absolutely necessary.

Though their No 1 Del Harris is missing with a severe groin strain, England still have a strong squad led by Colchester's Chris Walker who shone in the men's Al Ahram international in Egypt last week when Australia failed to dominate as expected. Walker pulled off a fine victory there when defeating Australia's No 2 Brett Martin, having done the same to their top player Rodney Eyles in Bombay in December.

England's second string for the World Cup is Lincoln's Mark Chaloner, who was voted International Newcomer of the Year by the Sports Writers Association for a run of success that included displacing Brett Martin from the World Open quarter-finals late last year.

England's first string woman is the British national champion Suzanne Horner, an experienced competitor and the only player to have defeated the world champion Michelle Martin this year.

Oxford's Mark Cairns travels as the men's reserve while Jane Martin from Newcastle clinched the reserve women's berth by forcing her way into last month's British Open semi-finals.

England are grouped with Malaysia, New Zealand and Hong Kong in Pool B of the four pool qualifying rounds that lead to semi-finals on 31 May and finals on 1 June.

Wales are sending David Evans, Alex Gough and Katrina Hogan under the coaching management of former Australian world No 2 Chris Robertson to meet Finland, Germany and Singapore in Pool D. Pool C comprises Egypt, New Zealand, Sweden and Malaysia.