Indoor Hockey

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The Independent Culture
Hockey may have a somewhat genteel public image, but the indoor game is something else entirely, as the National Indoor Championships at Crystal Palace this evening are likely to demonstrate. Think of squash compared to real tennis: so fast does t he ball travel on the sprung wooden flooring that it must be pushed rather than hit, being flicked up and whacked full-on only when going for goal, which makes for some spectacular shooting.

St Albans are the holders, while their Pool B rivals, Stourport, are also indoor experts. With East Grinstead having the whip hand in Group A, the stage may be set for a possible re-run of last year's thrilling final, which St Albans won on a penalty shoot-out in their ninth final in the event. At 20 minutes a game, with six a side and rolling substitutes, the action should come thick and fast.

National Indoor Hockey Championships, Crystal Palace National Sports Centre, today. First game, 4pm