Tuesday, June 18, 2024

‘It was just a joy to have the Super 6s indoor hockey finals back’

SIMON BEASLEY was in the stands at the Super 6s Finals at the Copper Box

We all know that there is a considerably shorter indoor season in England than hockey-mad countries like the Netherlands and Belgium. But does this really have an impact on the skills of the players who represent their countries in the outdoor game?

The argument that the indoor game helps the development of skills and can have an impact on the national team’s performance is a strong link. The teams that had either current internationals or retired internationals were the teams that won the close tactical battles.

This was shown by the likes of East Grinstead duo Ellie Rayer and Sophie Bray, who played pivotal roles in helping their side claim the trophy. Retired international Sally Walton scored some crucial short corner goals to help first time finalists Repton finish second in the competition. And, in the men’s competition, it was the speed and skill of Jack Waller that helped them claim victory.

The action was thoroughly enjoyable, which begged the question as to whether spectators and volunteers would like to see more indoor action.

The current indoor season consists of two group stage weekends, with the top four in the league battling it out on Finals day.

There is no evidence to suggest having a longer indoor season over the winter will help bring success to the outdoor game. If you look at Great Britain’s women’s performance at the last three Olympics, they have come away with two bronze medals and that famous gold in Rio 2016. Is that enough for change?

“I believe the format is perfect, to have one big bash at the end,” one Hockey Maker told me during Sunday’s finals. “We have had loads of people turn up, some supporting a team, some just coming for the day to enjoy the hockey and some fans left because their team lost in the semi-finals.”

A number of fans reiterated the same feeling to me. However, the overwhelming feeling was one of enjoyment to just have live hockey back.

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