England in buoyant mood ahead of EuroHockey Nations Championships
14 Aug 2007 11:24
Both the England men and women’s hockey team are in good shape as preparations reach their climax ahead of the EuroHockey Nations Championships, which start in Manchester on Saturday. The tournament, which gives England the chance to qualify for next summers’ Beijing Olympic Games, will see eight teams in both the female and male competitions divided into two pools with the top two teams from each pool progressing into the semi-finals.
The men’s squad, which was announced last week, is largely unchanged since last year’s World Cup bar the omissions of Ben Hawes and the retired Jerome Goudie. In come Ben Marsden and talented nineteen year-old Ashley Jackson from Surbiton and East Grinstead Hockey Club respectively.
The women’s squad has a few notable changes to the group which finished seventh at last October’s Samsung World Cup in Madrid. Jo Ellis (Doncaster), Lisa Wooding (Chelmsford) and Helen Grant (Rotterdam) do not feature and have been replaced by newcomer Hannah Macleod (Leicester) and the more experienced Cathy Gilliat-Smith (Canterbury) and Anne Panter (Leicester).
Danny Kerry, Head Coach for England Hockey (Women), commented: “Our preparations leading into the Europeans have been solid. We have consistently worked on those areas where we feel we can make the most effective gains. We have ensured that the team has a good foundation and structure of play which will prove effective and robust under tournament conditions. There have been a number of injury concerns over the last two months but the medical team has done an excellent job of rehabilitation and we go into the holding camp with our first choice squad. There is an excellent sense of ‘team collective purpose’ and as a result of these things we enter the final stages of our preparations excited and in good stead.”
Both the England men and women’s team will kick-off their European challenge this weekend in Manchester. The women face Ireland on Saturday 18 at 15.00 whilst the men will have to wait until Sunday where they face Belgium, a team which the men recently beat 6-2 during June’s BDO Champions Challenge in Antwerp.
Second in terms of size only to the World Cup, the EuroHockey Nations Championships welcome eight of the world’s best men’s and women’s teams with the top three sides in each category gaining qualification to next year’s Olympic Games in Beijing.
Tickets are still available and can be bought through the tournament website www.eurohockeymanchester2007.com
Source: England Hockey