Summer of international engagements for Bedford’s hockey stars

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Chris Townson (No 45) Bedford Hockey Club

A number of Bedford Hockey Club players have been busy with international engagements throughout the summer months, representing England in Masters’ Hockey competitions.

Rob Oakley and Alan Rushton both participated in the LX European Trophy in Antwerp, hosting O65, O70 and O75 age groups, whilst Yvette van Yperen has just returned from the International Masters Hockey Association European Cup for O35, O40 and O45s in Rotterdam.

Meanwhile, Alan and Yvette both returned as Gold medal winners, Yvette with England Women’s O35s and Alan the Men’s O70s.

Next in action, are the O50s and O55s, when their IMHA European Cup Tournament starts on the 8th August, running until the 17th, in Krefeld, Germany.

On this occasion, Bedford Hockey Club members will be backing players in the other three Home Nations, with three Bedford players travelling to Germany, with the Ireland and Scotland squads, and another being frustrated at not being able to join her Welsh teammates, due to injury.

Two of Bedford’s players, Brendon McNulty and Chris Townson, head for Germany, along with the Ireland Men’s O55 squad.

For the past couple of years, Ireland Hockey has used Bedford Hockey Club as a venue for a weekend of warm-up matches, for some of their Masters’ squads.

Earlier this year, during one of those days, a Bedford Dad’s & Lad’s Team, made up of father and son combinations from within the Club, took on, and drew with, Ireland Men’s O60s.

On the Ladies’ side of the Club, Joy Leeson had hoped to be fit to re-join her Welsh squad, but an on-going foot injury has taken her out of action this year.

She will, most definitely, be with them in spirit, however, and hopes to return to the international stage next year.

Pam Begg, meanwhile, along with her older sister, will be representing her birth country, playing for the Scotland Masters O55s team.

Pam plays her senior hockey for Huntingdon, but steps out for Bedford, as a Masters’ player, when Bedford’s O45 squad play England Masters Championship matches, and in friendly fixtures and tournaments, including the annual Crawfurd Porter Veterans Hockey Festival in Harrogate.

Pam received a fine black eye for her commitment at this year’s tournament.

Club youngster, Florence Miller, continues her journey on England Hockey’s Players Pathway in a four-day tournament from the 21st to the 24th August, taking place at Oaklands College, in St Alban’s.

She will be hoping her skill leads to her being selected for the NAGS Programme, the highest honour obtainable for a junior hockey player.

Success would see her attending England Hockey training camps and playing international fixtures for the U15 Girl’s squad.

Back at Club level, the Ladies’ 1s are into their fourth week of fitness training, pre-season fitness training for the rest of the Club begins this week and Stick & Ball Skills Training commences week beginning 26th August, with different evenings providing coaching for the various men’s and women’s sides.

Walking Hockey starts, again, on Thursday evenings (7-8pm) from 29th August and Sunday mornings (10-11am) from 8th September, when Junior Coaching will, also, recommence.

Anyone who would like further information on Junior or Senior Hockey can find contact details on the Club Website. Anyone interested in Walking Hockey can just turn up, once the sessions begin again.

More info at www.bedfordhockeyclub.com

Words and photos: Jean Fitch