Monday, December 11, 2023

‘From Premier Division promotion to European hockey – it’s incredible’

Melanie Wilkinson has praised Hampstead & Westminster’s team resolve after securing European women’s club hockey next season.

Hampstead & Westminster pipped Wimbledon and East Grinstead to the second European qualification spot after finishing runners-up behind Surbiton in the Vitality Women’s Premier Division.

They made sure on the final day, beating East Grinstead 3-1 to make club history, with the men’s side having enjoyed previous Euro Hockey League experience. The exact competition won’t be known as yet, and will either be the EHL or Club Trophy.

Wilkinson told Ham & High: “I’m not sure there are enough positive words in the dictionary to describe what it means.

“From only getting promoted to the Premier a few years ago, to end up in this position is simply incredible.

“We all have such respect for each other and are so close off the pitch that it really translates to the results we can achieve on the pitch.”

The club had endured a tough full campaign this season, with plenty of injuries and Covid rattling the squad.

Wilkinson added: “We’ve ultimately lost a few games that we potentially should’ve won, but not once have we stopped working and believing in each other and it’s this resilience that has allowed us to go on and qualify for Europe.

“It’s super important to emphasise it was not just the team on the pitch that got us to this position. From our amazing coaches, the injured players who come to every game, the players that helped us get promoted, the wider squad, our physio, our performance analyst, the club and everyone else in between.”

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