England women short of practice before European Indoor Championship

by HWC member Mike Haymonds via the Daily Express
Friday, January 8th, 2016
EuroHockey Indoors Cambrai

ENGLAND women will have limited preparation in their bid to gain an immediate return to the top flight at the second tier EuroHockey Indoor Championship in France later this month.

The 12-strong squad, which contains four players – Giselle Ansley, Grace Balsdon, Sarah Haycroft and Zoe Shipperley – from the team which finished seventh (of eight) in Prague in 2014, will have a two-day training camp in Canterbury on 19-20 January immediately before the tournament in Cambrai which starts two days later.

Five others – Steph Elliott, Susie Gilbert, Sabbie Heesh, Holly Payne and Lucy Wood – are also from the GB/England outdoor centralised training squad but have previous indoor experience at club level, as have Emily Defroand, Hannah Martin, and Amy Tennant.

All those selected are expected to be playing in the domestic Super 6s Indoor League in Telford this weekend.

England’s Pool B opponents in Europe are France, Russia and Wales while Pool A contains Scotland, Switzerland, Lithuania and Croatia.

England’s head coach is Andy Halliday, who is also coaching the men’s indoor squad in Portugal from January 15 – 17.

Halliday said: “For the women’s programme this year the demands of international outdoor hockey prevent the opportunities for many of the athletes to participate in good quality indoor hockey.

“However, the indoor version of the game provides a perfect opportunity to experience the pressures of international hockey in the smaller-sided format. Some of the natural skills can be transferred to the outdoor game.

“Hence we are using the opportunity of the European Championships to the benefit of the outdoor skills of the chosen athletes.”

England squad: Heesh, Payne (both Leicester), Defroand, Martin (Birmingham University), Elliott, Wood (Holcombe), Ansley, Haycroft (Surbiton), Gilbert (Reading), Balsdon (Canterbury), Tennant (Bowdon Hightown), Shipperley (Buckingham).