The Queen’s baton today toured through Staffordshire and Yorkshire appearing at the hockey Futures Cup in Cannock and the English Open Table Tennis in Cannock.
Welcomed by torrential rain brave ball girls and boys from Cannock and South Staffordshire Junior development centre, heralded the baton in a celebration of emerging English hockey talent. Surrounded by the best of England U16 and U18 club player s who form part of the junior academy programme the youngsters received the baton from David Faulkner, performance director of England hockey. As the players on the pitch gathered for the start of the match, the 14 -17 year olds lapped the pitch proudly wearing their new ‘We are England’ kit.
In the afternoon the Baton joined guest of honour the Lord Mayor of Sheffield, Councillor Graham Oxley, at the 65th English Open, part of the prestigious International Table Tennis Federation Major Pro Tour Programme. Men’s and women’s England number 1 players Paul Drinkhall and Joanna Parker played an exhibition game whilst English divers Nick Robinson-Baker and Ben Swain lapped the table with the baton before presenting it to Alex Murdoch the ETTA Chairman before Drinkhall and Parker then shared the last lap of the baton at the EIS Sheffield.
The baton is now heading west to Droitwich Spa High School for a day of celebrations and festivities with Gail Emms gold, silver and bronze Commonwealth Games medallist.