Tuesday, April 16, 2024

No walk in the park! London Wayfarers up for Buckingham clash in England Hockey Cup

Having been part of the management team for Surbiton women’s successful domestic knockout campaigns in 2014 and 2015 seasons, Mark Atherton knows a thing or two about the value of the Cup.

Seven years on, Atherton is coach of Conference East side London Wayfarers, who take on Premier Division outfit Buckingham this weekend in the last eight of the EH Women’s Championship Cup at Battersea Park.

There is one snag. Atherton is currently out in South Africa coaching Team USA at the Junior Women’s World Cup, with his side set to play England in the quarter-finals on Friday. Whatever the result, they will then play their next game on Sunday against either Argentina or Germany.

It means that the Wayfarers and USA games are likely to clash and so he will be leaning on a couple of club colleagues, who will be keeping him posted on the score. The coach on the day will be one of Wayfarers women performance and lead junior coaches, Calum MacDonald.

London Wayfarers play at Battersea Park PIC: Nick Cornwall

This is Atherton’s third season as women’s 1s head coach. Promoted last year, Wayfarers have just completed their first season in the national league, finishing third behind Barnes and Soutgate.

“The club also opened a new performance base at Kings House Sports Ground at the start of this season,” said Atherton. “There have been a lot of firsts over the past six months and we look forward to carrying positive momentum into next season.”

On the surface, this will be no Sunday stroll for Buckingham. The Premier Division side will have their work cut out against Wayfarers, who will have plenty of ammunition in the squad to summon belief that they can reach the semi-finals.

There’s full back and captain Becks Cadwallader, a former Reading and Isca player, forward Emmie Le Marchand, previously with Surbiton, and midfielder Bex Arch (Wimbledon and Uni of Birmingham).

Atherton said that new recruit Emily Kilner, former Durham captain and England under-21 international, had also been a “terrific addition and is a key part of our midfield.”

He added: “The Cup has presented opportunities for us both to give our most promising junior players exposure to a high level of senior hockey, and also for the squad to gain experience against teams higher up the league pyramid. It is a competition I have fond memories of.”

EH Women’s Tier 1 Championship, Apr 10

London Wayfarers v Buckingham
Surbiton 2 v Clifton Robinsons
Timperley v Bowdon
Beeston v Stourport

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