St Albans defend title

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The Independent Online
The national rounds of the restructured Indoor Club Championship start today with the preliminary competitions at Alderham School, Hertfordshire, and at RAF Newton, Nottinghamshire. The top three teams in each pool will progress to finals night at Crystal Palace on 20 January.

The defending champions, St Albans, start the ball rolling at Aldenham against last season's beaten semi finalists Old Loughtonians, who will be strengthened by the return of World Cup internationals Julian Halls and Nick Thompson.

St Albans, missing the injured Ian Jennings, are part of a strong South pool which includes last year's beaten finalists East Grinstead and Teddington.

At RAF Newton, three Midland clubs - Stourport, Harborne and Barford Tigers - must cope with an impressive Doncaster.