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Olympic hockey qualifiers: Great Britain’s home nations feel for Chile clash

GB women are aiming to defend hockey title in Tokyo 2020 PIC: Worldsportpics

By Cassie Worth

Great Britain women’s squad for their Olympic qualifying test will have a home nations feel for the two-legged clash against Chile next weekend.

For their successful Olympic qualifying tournament in Valencia four years ago, GB was made up of English players. But Mark Hager has selected three Scottish and one Welsh player in his 18-strong squad for their 2020 tilt.

Seven Rio 2016 gold medallists have been selected. Hollie Pearne-Webb will captain a side that also includes Giselle Ansley, Maddie Hinch, Shona McCallin, Susannah Townsend and Laura Unsworth.

In addition, Scotland’s Charlotte Watson and Leah Wilkinson, of Wales, are set to play their first international games at Lee Valley.

Watson made her Great Britain debut during a trip to Japan back in July and scored her first goal during a recent Test series against India.

Wilkinson, Wales’ most capped team sport athlete of all time, made her own debut GB appearance in that series and featured in all three games as her side took overall victory.

Hager said: “It’s an exciting and very well-balanced group. We’ve brought in Leah Wilkinson to give us another key defender; she’s deserved her place after playing well in the recent India Test series.

“Charlotte Watson has some good raw speed and the ability to put the ball in the back of the net, so she’ll be quite an exciting addition.

At this stage five players from England’s EuroHockey campaign – Emily Defroand, Amy Tennant, Jo Hunter, Suzy Petty and Grace Balsdon – haven’t been selected. Defroand and Tennant are understood to be injured. GB will be picking two more players as standby next week.

The men’s team for their qualifier against Malaysia will be announced on Tuesday.

GB Women v Chile (2-3 November)

Giselle Ansley (Surbiton) – ENG Amy Costello (East Grinstead) – SCO Sarah Evans (Surbiton) – ENG Sabbie Heesh (GK) (Surbiton) – ENG Maddie Hinch (GK) – ENG Tess Howard (East Grinstead) – ENG Hannah Martin (Surbiton) – ENG Shona McCallin – ENG Lizzie Neal (Loughborough Students) – ENG Lily Owsley (Hampstead & Westminster) – ENG Hollie Pearne-Webb (C) (Surbiton) – ENG Izzy Petter (Loughborough Students) – ENG Anna Toman (Wimbledon) – ENG Susannah Townsend – ENG Sarah Robertson (Hampstead & Westminster) – SCO Laura Unsworth (East Grinstead) – ENG Charlotte Watson (Dundee Wanderers) – SCO Leah Wilkinson (Holcombe) – WAL

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