HOCKEY WALES ANNOUNCE THEIR SQUAD TO FACE FRANCE.
The Welsh Women’s hockey squad travel to France this weekend to start a week of competition which includes two practice games and a test match against one their closest European ranking rivals.
Wales and France played each other 6 times in 2019 and, the sides placed 13 and 15 respectively on the Official EHF Ranking, both came away with 3 wins.
Kevin Johnson, Head Coach, will travel with the squad of 20 players to Antibes, France where they will have the chance to play two practice games and a much-anticipated test match which will count towards their European ranking.
“We have a good relationship with France and have also enjoyed a number of close and competitive test matches against them, so we look forward to visiting Antibes which is a welcoming venue we know well.
“These matches represent an ideal opportunity to see where our group is positioned after a recent training phase post Europeans. During this time several younger players have transitioned further into senior squad activity and this selection represents that, with over a third of players included that played in last summer’s U21 Europeans.”
After Leah Wilkinson’s recent full-time inclusion into the GB squad, Sian French has stepped up from Vice-Captain to lead the side in this period, with Beth Bingham taking on the role as her deputy.
With the middle game in this series having official test match status, and therefore counting towards the new FIH World Ranking system, there is the possibility that Nell Butler will be in line to receive her first test cap.
Nell has broken into the senior squad after impressing in the U21 Euros last summer, remarkably she is still U18 and in her final year of studies at school. Her journey to seniors has seen her rise through the Hockey Wales pathway from the 360 centres, to her first appearances for the National junior teams in the Futures Cup of 2016, and against Scotland in 2017.
She started her club journey at U9 level with Abergavenny under the watchful eye of Sharon and Kevin Phillips, before joining Luke Hawker’s Cardiff & Met side in 2017. This season Nell joined up with Gareth Terrett at Swansea Hockey Club, where she now plays in National League Division 1 North.
Johnson is delighted that Nell joins the squad for this tour and is keen to see how she progresses based on her current form.
“It is always exciting to see young players break into our senior group and Nell is no exception. It is a massive credit to her personally, and to those who have supported her both on the pathway and at club level, that she has developed so quickly.
“I was impressed with Nell’s goals, overall performances and maturity at the European U21 tournament in 2019. She has taken that form and confidence into this recent period of senior activity, whilst also gaining valuable experience at National League level this season. As ever I am looking forward to seeing what progress she, and the rest of the group, can achieve in France.”
This series also represents the first matches for our new Senior Assistant Coach Moses Lodarmasse, who is from the Netherlands and joins us from his previous role of Assistant Coach to the Russian women's team.
“After completing the recent recruitment process, we were delighted to appoint Moses to the role and he has already made a positive impression, bringing both a freshness and a different perspective in his approach.
“He has a wide experience of different nations and methods and we are looking forward to making the most of his contribution which will no doubt benefit the group.”
Senior women’s squad for Antibes, France:
Beth Bingham (Vice-Captain) (Holcombe)
Cari Davies (Team Bath Buccaneers)
Ella Jackson (Buckingham)
Eloise Laity (Buckingham)
Emily Rowlands (Hampstead & Westminster)
Hannah Cozens (East Grinstead)
Izzie Howell (University of Durham)
Izzy Webb (Clifton Robinsons)
Jess Roe (Swansea)
Jo Westwood (Holcombe)
Julie Whiting (Bowdon Hightown)
Lauren Dunn (Swansea)
Megan Lewis-Williams (Buckingham)
Nell Butler (Swansea)
Phoebe Richards (Clifton Robinsons)
Rose Thomas (Holcombe)
Sarah-Jayne Thorburn (Swansea)
Sian French (Captain) (Bowdon Hightown)
Sophie Robinson (Beeston)
Xenna Hughes (Bowdon Hightown)
Tuesday:15.00 training match
Wednesday: 15.00 test match
Friday: 11.00 training match
Note - These times are Central European Time (+1hr).
Updates from the matches will be on Hockey Wales twitter @HockeyWales and a round-up of the week will be available at www.hockeywales.org.uk.
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