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England announce indoor training squads
20 Nov 2007 15:23

England Men and Women will begin their preparations next month for their international indoor comeback with a training camp at the University of the West of England in Bristol for which 17 athletes (per squad) have been selected.

The Women’s squad is a mixture of experience and youth and will provide the opportunity for England to further develop those players who have missed out on selection for the Olympic training squad as well as introducing some junior players into a competitive senior environment.

Amongst the newcomers are Gemma Darrington, Heather Batten, Sarah Page, Ashleigh Ball and Harriet Cunningham.  Darrington, a strong and committed defender was recently involved with the GB training squad.  Batten, a forward, currently plays for England U21 as does her team mate Ball who is a midfielder.  Cunningham and Page were both part of the successful GB Youth squad who won a gold medal in Sydney at the start of this year at the Australian Youth Olympics.

Women’s Head Coach Craig Parnham sees the indoor programme as a chance to continue to work on particular skill sets which will also “enhance our outdoor programmes”.  He said “England has not been involved in indoor hockey for some years now and it will take time to establish our playing style.  Our goal is to gain promotion (at the EuroHockey Indoor Nations Challenge) to the next level”.

With Great Britain squad players unavailable for the indoor programme, the Men’s squad is selected from the England A and Under 21 squads and will provide an interesting mix of outdoor experience at Junior level.  Youngsters David Beckett and Nick Catlin, both recent Under 18 internationals will get an opportunity to earn senior indoor caps.  The squad will rely heavily on both the Reading and Loughborough contingents.  Together these clubs will provide nine of the selected 17 athletes.  Reading keeper Nick Brothers will provide much needed experience between the sticks after spending some time playing in the German Bundesliga. Of the rest, only Carl Smith of Loughborough can boast any European Indoor experience, albeit at club level. 

After 14 years in the International indoor wilderness, England look forward to a successful return.  Coach Andy Halliday said  'This is a great opportunity for these players. To be able to develop and hone indoor skills in an intensive six week period will undoubtedly help in the development of the outdoor game. We know that other European Nations have improved over the years, and realise how much hard work is necessary to prepare for the European Championships in Sheffield in January'.

The squads will be reduced following the training camp and England will then take on Scotland in a three match series between 21-23 December in Paisley, Glasgow.  There will be a further training camp at the end of the year before both squads take part in the Burlington Cup between 4-6 January in Vienna with Sheffield the ultimate destination where England will host the EuroHockey Indoor Nations Challenge at Ponds Forge between 18-20 January.

Men’s team:

Nick Brothers (GK), Andy Gooderham (GK), Tom Millington (GK), Adam Dixon, Harry Jawanda, Richard Smith, Nick Catlin, Iain Mackay, Richard Springham, Nick Page, Carl Smith, Alistair Brogdon, Gareth Andrew, Simon Egerton, Dan Fox, David Beckett, James Blackwell, Andy Halliday (Head Coach), David Ralph (Assistant Coach), Nick Beasant (Team Manager)

Women’s team:

Gemma Darrington, Cathy Gilliat-Smith, Heather Batten, Sarah Page, Susie Townsend, Natalie Seymour, Sally Walton, Ashleigh Ball, Harriet Cunningham, Emma Thomas, Dilly Newton, Alex Scott, Natasha Brennan, Kirsty Mackay (GK), Becky Duggan (GK), Gemma Ible (GK), Maddie Hinch (GK), Craig Parnham (Head Coach), Richard Organ (Assistant Coach), Matt Jones (Team Manager).

England Indoor Programme

7-9 December 2007: Training Camp UWE, Bristol
21-23 December 2007: Training + 3 Test Matches v Scotland Paisley, Glasgow
28-30 December 2007: Training Camp UWE, Bristol
2-6 January 2008: Burlington Cup (4-6) Vienna
16-20 January 2008: EuroHockey Nations Challenge (18-20) Ponds Forge, Sheffield

Source: England Hockey

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