reports from Crystal Palace
Hull, required to play twice in the opening three games, clinched their place in the final of the Indoor Club Championship last night after a 7-3 win against last year's finalists Barford Tigers.
Injury-stricken Tigers were no match for the methodical Hull, for whom Andy Humphrey dominated the midfield, and the close ball skills of Steven Moat who in addition to scoring five times was involved in just about every defensive operation.
Earlier Alistair England got the championship off to an early start with a second-minute goal for Hull in their opening game against Stourport going on to build up a 4-2 interval lead with Moat scoring twice.
Stourport came out after the interval in attacking mood and in spite of a series of outstanding saves from Peter Clark in the Hull goal clawed their way back going in to the closing minutes 5-5. When David Knott was alleged to have deliberately kicked the ball outside the circle with seconds remaining Humphrey sealed the game from the resulting corner for Hull.
Guildford's player-coach, Ian Jennings, guesting for St Albans, opened the scoring inside the first minute before going on to net five of their six in their 6-5 win against East Grinstead.
Sean Kerly, 36, is expected to return to the National League arena, when he makes his league debut tomorrow for Second Division Richmond at home to Doncaster at Broom Road. He will team up with his former Olympic gold medal colleague, Steve Batchelor, describing his return as a favour to Batchelor, the Richmond player-coach. With only two wins to their campaign this season Richmond will need Kerly, who has not played a full game for more than six months, to find his goal-scoring form quickly if they are to avoid relegation.
The Great Britain women's training squad gathers this weekend at the new Milton Keynes national stadium with Hightown's Carolyn Reid added to the squad as cover for goalkeeper Jo Thompson who has had a recent knee operation.
Thompson expects to be completely recovered by Easter but could miss the two games against France at Bisham Abbey 26-27 March. Wales' Lynda Watkin has been forced to withdraw from the squad as the result of a long- standing back injury.
INDOOR CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP FINALS (Crystal Palace): Pool A: Stourport 5 Hull 6; Hull 7 Barford Tigers 3. Pool B: East Grinstead 5 St Albans 6.Reuse content