Phil Roper in action for Wimbledon
Hawes said: “Last year at the same stage we came up against one of Europe’s top performers Amsterdam and lost 1-3 but we have that valuable experience behind us.”
This year they face an equally tough challenge on Saturday against the German champions UHC Hamburg, who have won this competition three times since its inception in 2007/08.
A win for Wimbledon would take an English team into the KO8 (quarter-final)stage, for the first time since Reading in 2013, where they will play either the Germans Mannheimer or the Spaniards Club Egara and ensure two English teams in next season’s competition.
Ian Sloan playing for Great Britain against Australia
Hawes confirmed they will travel with a fully fit squad with Phil Roper having recovered from a facial injury sustained on Great Britain’s recent tour to South Africa, Ian Sloan back after a knee issue and Ben Arnold after a minor hamstring injury.
Roper and Sloan join Michael Hoare and Henry Weir as Wimbledon’s members of the GB centralised training squad.
Wimbledon have enjoyed a highly successful domestic league season, losing only one early game and lifting the title for the first time with a margin of seven points over Holcombe.
Ben Hawes is hoping for a better outing at the KO16 tournament this year
Next weekend they will aim for the double when the Final Four Championship play-offs in the Olympic Park see them opposing Hampstead & Westminster in one semi-final while Holcombe and Surbiton are in the other.
“But this weekend our focus is on Europe,” Hawes said.
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