Team England has announced eighteen Hockey players set to represent the home nation at this summer’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
The squad contains four youngsters who will be playing in their first senior international tournaments – Sophie Hamilton, Holly Hunt, Flora Peel and Lily Walker. At 20, Walker is the youngest in the group and only made her international debut in April this year.
Twelve of the squad represented Great Britain at last summer’s Olympics in Tokyo. With three Olympic medals to her name, Laura Unsworth is the squad’s most-capped player and is set to make her 300th international appearance this summer. Captain Hollie Pearne-Webb and fellow double Olympians Giselle Ansley, Maddie Hinch and Lily Owsley each have more than 100 England caps to their name.
Still aged just 21 and 22 respectively, Izzy Petter and Fiona Crackles come into this summer with strong tournament experience, having won bronze with Team GB in Tokyo. Team England’s Generation 22 athlete, Tess Howard is back after an injury sadly forced her to miss major events throughout 2021.
England Hockey have also confirmed these 18 players as their squad for the FIH Hockey Women’s World Cup in the Netherlands and Spain and the EuroHockey Championship Qualifiers in Durham.
Less than two weeks after the team plays in the World Cup, the team will aim to ‘Bring it Home’ at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. All matches are at the University of Birmingham, and Team England are pooled with Ghana, Canada, India and Wales.
Having medalled in all six Games since Hockey was introduced, the women’s team will be keen to put on their best Hockey in front of a roaring home crowd. Their first match will be played against Ghana on Saturday 30th July and the final will be held on Sunday 7th August.
This summer, Team England will comprise of over 400 athletes in total, all of whom will look to capitalise on the once in a lifetime opportunity to bring home success in their own country. The Women’s Hockey players announced to represent Team England are:
· Giselle Ansley – Maidenhead, Berkshire (from Plymouth)
· Grace Balsdon – Canterbury, Kent
· Fiona Crackles – London (from Kendal)
· Sophie Hamilton – Bruton, Somerset (from Banbury)
· Sabbie Heesh (GK) – London (from Nottingham)
· Maddie Hinch (GK) – Maidenhead, Berkshire (from Southampton)
· Tess Howard – Cambridge
· Holly Hunt – Marlow, Buckinghamshire (from Manchester)
· Hannah Martin – Maidenhead, Berkshire (from Ipswich)
· Shona McCallin – Berkshire (from Grantham)
· Lily Owsley – Bristol
· Hollie Pearne-Webb – Buckinghamshire (from Derby)
· Flora Peel – Cheltenham, Gloucestershire
· Izzy Petter – Godalming, Surrey (from Guildford)
· Ellie Rayer – Maidenhead, Berkshire (from Slough)
· Anna Toman – Maidenhead, Berkshire (from Derby)
· Laura Unsworth – London (from Sutton Coldfield)
· Lily Walker – Cannock, Staffordshire (from Walsall)
University of Birmingham alumni Anna Toman said: "As a group we are incredibly excited about this summer's Hockey, and it is a huge honour to be selected. The Commonwealth Games taking place in Birmingham is very special for all of us, especially for a group of us within the squad like myself who went to University of Birmingham as students, so to be back there again will feel incredible. Having a major tournament here in England is wonderful. We want to bring our best Hockey to every game, and we can't wait to get going."
On the prospect of competing at Birmingham 2022, Team England Generation 22 athlete Tess Howard said: "It gives me goosebumps! To compete in front of a home crowd, after the last two years and everything that everyone in this country has been through it's going to be amazing. Having the support around us, friends, family and that crowd support, it's going to be super inspiring to run out on the pitch and see the flags waving, it's going to be something very special."
Team England’s Chef de Mission, Mark England OBE, welcomed the athletes to the team: “With the World Cup and the Commonwealth Games taking place in such short period of time, this summer is going to be one to remember for our Hockey players. I am delighted to welcome our talented women’s players to Team England, and I look forward to watching them ‘Bring it Home’ in front of the Birmingham crowd.”
Team England Team Leader, Ed Barney, commented: “Following on from the Olympic Games last year, it has been great to see many players pursue different commitments, passions and ambitions over the past nine months. This has provided huge opportunity for our up-and-coming players to stake their claim for a place over the summer and it has been brilliant to see many of the women cement their place. The summer ahead will undoubtedly offer some real excitement and special moments for players and fans alike.”