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England names men’s hockey team for Melbourne
25 Jan 2006 09:47

The Commonwealth Games Council for England has announced a 16-strong men’s hockey squad to compete at the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games.

The squad features four players who played for the Great Britain team that finished ninth at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.

England will be captained by the experienced Brett Garrard, the only member of the squad with Commonwealth Games experience. He played at both the Kuala Lumpur 1998 and Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games; the only two Games so far to feature hockey.

The Surbiton player already has 152 England caps and has played for Great Britain 58 times.

England’s men just missed out on the medals at the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games, finishing fifth. They won bronze at the 1998 Games in Kuala Lumpur.

Team England also feature exciting young players like Barry Middleton and Simon Mantell in their squad. Middleton is only 22 but already has 60 England and 41 Great Britain caps, while Mantell made his England debut in November and has four caps to his name.

England have just returned from South Africa, where they completed a three-nil series whitewash over their hosts.

England’s men are currently ranked 11th in the world, making them the sixth highest ranked team in the tournament at Melbourne 2006. They have been drawn in a tough group along with Australia, the reigning Olympic and Commonwealth Champions, and New Zealand, Canada and Scotland.

They open their account against New Zealand, ranked ninth in the world, on Friday 17 March, before playing Scotland the following day, Australia on Tuesday 21 March and completing their pool matches against Canada on Wednesday 22 March.

“We have quite a young and inexperienced group of players, but we hope they will form a strong squad for the future,” England team manager Peter Nicholson said.

“It’s going to be a tough competition, because the Commonwealth Games nations are particularly strong. Our first game against New Zealand is a critical one for us.  If we win that we will have a good chance of making the semi-finals.”

“We’re really looking forward to playing Australia. It will be a full house and a great experience for the guys.”

“I would like to congratulate England’s hockey players on their selection for the Commonwealth Games,” Ann Hogbin, Team England’s Chef de Mission at Melbourne 2006, said.

“I’d also like to wish them the very best of luck for their preparations for Melbourne and for the Games themselves.”

The 16-strong squad will stay in Melbourne for nine days after the Games before moving to China for the World Cup Qualifying tournament, where they will be joined by a further two players; Richard Mantell (Reading) and Jerome Goudie (Loughborough).

Richard Mantell was not selected for the Commonwealth Games following his recent injury as it was felt it would be too soon for him to be considered for the tournament.

England Women – Commonwealth Games
Glenn Kirkham, Richard Alexander, Martin Jones, Matt Daly, Brett Garrard, Jonty Clarke, Rob Moore, Ben Hawes, Scott Cordon, Barry Middleton, James Tindall, Jon Bleby, Jon Ebsworth, Ben Marsden, James Fair, Simon Mantell, Coach: Jason Lee, Assistant Coaches: Dave Bunyan, Bobby Crutchley, Manager: Peter Nicholson

The England women’s team for Melbourne 2006 will be announced shortly.

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