Hockey: Hill fired up for success

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The Independent Online
ROB HILL, Britain's leading scorer in the Barcelona Olympics, will seek to further enhance his striking reputation this evening at Crystal Palace where he leads Firebrands in the National Indoor Club Championship finals.

Last year Firebrands failed to reach this stage of the competition, but, with the return of Hill from Havant and the arrival of the England Under-21 international, Ben Cope, and Germany's Henning Tewes, who both played in the winning St Albans side last season, they have a realistic chance of lifting the trophy.

St Albans, who are aiming for a record sixth successive title, and their seventh in all, have been drawn against Stourport, the team they beat 3-2 in last year's final. The holders have been showing signs of frailty this season and in addition to the loss of Tewes and Cope, Glen Wisher has retired and Kevin Stamp has not played for them indoors this season.

On present form Stourport look likely to end St Albans unbeaten run. Last weekend they won the Birmingham International Indoor Tournament, beating Canada in the final, with Imran Sherwani, Jon Roberts and the goalkeeper Steve Taylor in impressive form.

One semi-final is likely to be between Stourport and Firebrands, while East Grinstead, despite a lengthy injury list which means that Jason Lee will be missing and Richard Leman may also not play, are expected to come through from the other half of the draw.

NATIONAL INDOOR CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP Finals (Crystal Palace, today): Quarter- finals: 4.0: Blackheath v Welton; 4.50: East Grinstead v Harborne; 5.40: St Albans v Stourport; 6.30: Firebrands v Old Loughtonians. Semi-finals: 7.20; 8.10. Final: 9.30.