Great Britain’s goalkeepers in the Beijing Olympics were named as the UK Hockey Players of the Year for 2008 following the annual poll conducted amongst British members of the Hockey Writers’ Club. The presentations were made by Lord Colin Moynihan, Chairman of the British Olympic Association, at the HWC’s annual presentation lunch held at the Royal Thames Yacht Club in Knightsbridge.
Ali McGregor (bottom right), 27-year-old, Scotland & Loughborough Students and 30-year-old Beth Storry (left) of England and SCHC (Netherlands) took the honours ahead of their Olympic colleagues. Men’s runner-up was Barry Middleton and third placed Ashley Jackson, both currently playing for Dutch Club HGC. Runner-up in the women’s voting was 28-year-old Welsh National captain Sarah Thomas who plays her club hockey like Storry in the Netherlands but for the Rotterdam Club. Winner of 2005 and 2006, Leicester’s Crista Cullen, was third.
The winners both gave outstanding performances for Great Britain in the Beijing Games and in the build-up both winning their first GB caps in 2007. They received Silver Rose Bowls. Beth, a Financial Analyst, donated her winning cheque to Reading one of her former clubs whilst Ali, a PE Teacher at Knossington Grange School, will give his to Gordonians Hockey Club (Junior Section), one of his old clubs in his home town of Aberdeen.
Plaques and cheques were also presented to Alice Sharp, 16, a midfielder with Belper HC, and Ben Arnold, 18, of Beeston HC, winners of the Higgins Group UK Youth Awards by Richard Higgins, chairman of the Group.
The Times Sydney Friskin Memorial Goblet for Outstanding Services to Hockey was presented by Neil Friskin (son) accompanied by the newspaper’s Managing Editor, David Chappell, to Chris Pickett former Great Britain and England Women’s Manager and currently President of Havant HC.