Hockey hot-shot Sophie hits photographers with off-target ball

Countess Of Wessex visits England Hockey

The Countess of Wessex showed off her hockey skills - and her fierce shooting ability - during a practice session with the men's national team.

Sophie looked as if she had lost none of her sporting talent when some of the England squad put her through her paces during a training session.

With concentration etched on her face, and gripping the stick with both hands, the casually dressed Countess smashed the ball into the net again and again.

But one wayward shot hit a couple of photographers who were behind the goal and thought they were safe.

Sophie put her hand over her mouth in horror at the accident but it was laughed off by the media.

The Countess has been patron of England Hockey since 2006 and met senior men and women players at their base at Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre near Marlow in Buckinghamshire.

She travelled to the training facility to meet the new chair of England Hockey, Royston Hoggarth, who replaced Philip Kimberley after he announced he was stepping down last year following more than 12 years in the role.