Europe

Richardson returns to England side for the Trifinance European Hockey Championships

[img_assist|nid=8550|title=Youngest|desc=Lily Owsley – Ady Kerry|link=node|align=right|width=220|height=190]MIDFIELDER Helen Richardson returns to the England side for the 2013 European Hockey Championships in Boom, starting on Saturday.

The squad includes eight other London 2012 bronze medallists alongside treble Olympian Richardson who has recovered from a back injury she had surgery on earlier this year. 

The youngest member of the squad  is 18-year-old Lily Owsley, who made her debut at the Investec World League in June shortly after completing her A-Levels. Owsley scored her first senior international goal last weekend when England faced Belgium in Antwerp on the pitch they will play on next Saturday.

Another treble Olympian and longstanding England captain Kate Walsh will lead her team out for her seventh European Championships.

After reaching her 300th combined international cap last weekend she will be one of the most experienced players there.

She said, “It’s really exciting to be heading out to Belgium with this squad. We have some great talent in the line-up and this tournament will give us a chance to test ourselves against the best sides in Europe.

“I feel really lucky and honoured to have made my 300th international appearance, but my focus is very much on making sure we have the best possible preparation before next week and that we go into the tournament ready.”

England coach Jason Lee added, “Since April it’s been a steep learning curve for some of the new girls coming into the squad, but they have coped with everything incredibly well and I’m excited to go out to Belgium and see what we can do. As long as we perform to our best ability and play the hockey we have been doing in training then we should be very competitive in the tournament.”

England have been drawn in Pool B alongside Germany, Spain and Scotland. On paper Germany will pose the biggest threat to England, ranked just one place below them in the FIH world rankings at fifth, and they have been in fantastic form beating the Netherlands on home turf in their World League Semi Final back in June. However Spain and Scotland, at world number 14 and 19 respectively, will no doubt pose a considerable threat. Spain showed their form at the Investec World League when they came back to draw 1-1 with England.

In the other Pool, the Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland and Belarus will battle it out to make the final four and a semi final place on Thursday August 22.

The EuroHockey Championships are being shown on the BBC Red Button, online and on iplayer. England’s first match is on Saturday August 17 against Spain at 9am (UK time).

England Women’s EuroHockey Championships 2013: Name (Position): Giselle Ansley (Defender), Ashleigh Ball (Midfielder), Alex Danson (Forward), Susie Gilbert (Midfielder), Sarah Haycroft (Midfielder), Maddie Hinch (Goalkeeper), Kirsty Mackay (Goalkeeper), Hannah Macleod (Forward), Lily Owsley (Forward), Sam Quek (Defender), Helen Richardson (Midfielder), Susie Townsend (Midfielder), Georgie Twigg (Midfielder), Laura Unsworth (Defender), Kate Walsh (Defender), Sally Walton (Defender), Hollie Webb (Defender), Nicola White (Forward).

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