Claire Middleton speaks to the inaugural women’s league champions of 31 years ago
During the Women’s World Cup in 2018, England Hockey put on an event to which all former internationals were invited. It was fun, by all accounts, a lovely chance to meet up with past team-mates and reminisce on bygone days.
Lots of photos were taken and shared: the Ipswich contingent, the Leicester contingent and then the Slough contingent, at which point the whole room, yes, the entire room, booed.
“It was good-natured and it didn’t help that we stood up there shouting ‘champ-ion-es, champ-ion-es’, but you could see we were the team everyone loved to beat – and they didn’t often get the chance,” said Sue Knight, a goalkeeper, formerly of Slough and England.
The Slough side of 1989, the inaugural season of the Typhoo National League, were a formidable outfit. The fact that Knight, who went on to represent her country, was the second goalkeeper behind Jo Thompson, illustrates their strength. There was strength of character too, which probably explains a lot: why they just kept on winning and why, on the pitch at least, nobody seemed to like them.
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Slough and mighty
Back row l-r: Karen Brown, Jo Thompson, Helen Thornalley, Annette Stroud, Sue Frost, Sue Knight, Kim Beckett, Elaine Bushell, Amanda Pottow (mascot)
Front row l-r: Kate Parker, Lesley Hobley, Sue Chandler, Sarah Rimmer, Mel Hoskins, Jenny Mitchell