Thursday, October 28, 2021

Lucy Hyams revels in Hampstead & Westminster’s forward-thinking approach

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Tom Pilcher
Tom Pilcher is a sports writer who covered the 2008/2012 Olympics for Reuters, mainly handball and cycling, and Team GB live blogger in 2016.

A day after scoring the only goal against Uni of Birmingham as Hampstead & Westminster continued their fine start atop the Vitality Women’s Premier Division table, Lucy Hyams was out in the Yorkshire Dales.

Hyams, 27, is a charities business development manager at Brewin Dolphin and, like most top club players, understands the importance of using hockey as an escape from a busy workload.

“We are lucky in the UK where we have a good club system and that a lot of the players are successful on the hockey pitch as well as their careers,” says Hyams. “It’s our way to escape work life.”

Hyams is also a former England and GB under-21 international. She played the Junior World Cup before the former Canterbury player took up a hockey scholarship at the University of Virginia.

Finding a place on the GB senior women’s programme, she says, never really worked out. She is now into her fourth season at Hampstead, having joined the London outfit in the Conference East during their promotion-winning year.

She is aided in a tight-knit squad by one of her best friends, Grace Balsdon, the pair having played together since they were 12-year-olds on the Kent junior scene. And while the international game wasn’t to be for Hyams, she has nothing but respect for the journey endured by Balsdon.

“We have travelled a lot together and to see her win Olympic bronze was just fantastic,” says Hyams.

Sarah Kelleher and Kate Richardson-Walsh, Hampstead’s joint head coaches PIC: MARK CLEWS

“I’ve watched Grace the whole time and been with her on the journey from not being picked for Rio to seeing her get selected [for Tokyo]. It’s amazing. People only see the medals but when you are friends with them you see just how much work they have put in.”

Hyams, who has moved to the forward lines this season, says the likes of GB and Scottish international Sarah Robertson seeing the potential of Hampstead and Westminster before they were promoted, has given the team extra impetus as a squad. 

And so too with the co-head coaches of Kate Richardson-Walsh and Sarah Kelleher. 

“They work really work together and training is fun,” adds Hyams. “We have a great core group of players who have been there for a while and know how the club works, with the love of hockey and the social side. It’s a great team atmosphere and Kate and Sarah work really hard in putting the team sessions together.”

And the early season form is testament to that as they look to make it five on the spin with a tricky trip to Buckingham looming on Saturday.

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