Thursday, February 22, 2024

Commonwealth Games hockey: Zach Wallace to lead England men

Zach Wallace, who has already announced himself as a rising star of world hockey, will captain England men at the upcoming Commonwealth Games as they aim to stop Australia’s domination at the University of Birmingham venue. 

Still only 22, his appointment as captain reflects England’s new era under coach Paul Revington.

England will be searching for their first gold medal in Birmingham as they attempt to halt Australia’s perennial run to top podium success of the men’s event, having won all six gold medals since the sport was introduced at the 1998 Games.

Wallace said: “Having the opportunity to captain this team is an unbelievable honour and I hope I can repay the trust in me and lead the team to deliver the results and performances I know we can achieve.”

England won bronze at the 2018 games in Australia, and seven members of that squad are included again this time around. 

Sam Ward was the tournament’s leading scorer four years ago and he is selected alongside fellow 2018 medallists Liam Ansell, David Condon, Brendan Creed, David Goodfield, Chris Griffiths and Phil Roper, who will be playing in his third Games.

Five players get the opportunity to play their first major tournament for England – James Albery, Nick Bandurak, James Mazarelo, Nick Park and Stuart Rushmere. 

Ian Sloan, James Gall, Rhys Smith are notable absentees from the squad, while David Ames is injured.

So too is defender Liam Sanford, who was ruled out on the eve of England’s announcement through injury. 

A statement read: “The news is incredibly unfortunate for Liam and a replacement will be announced in due course. Everyone at England Hockey wishes Liam well in his recovery.

Alongside Wallace, Jack Waller and James Albery (vice captains); Tom Sorsby and Ollie Payne will make up the leadership group.

England men’s Commonwealth Games squad

·         Liam Ansell (High Wycombe, Wimbledon HC)

. James Albery (Ware, Old Georgians HC)

·         Nick Bandurak (Wolverhampton, Holcombe HC)

·         Will Calnan (Chobham, Hampstead & Westminster HC)

·         David Condon (Leicester, Wimbledon HC)

·         Brendan Creed (Solihull, Surbiton HC)

·         David Goodfield (Telford, Surbiton HC)

·         Chris Griffiths (Kings Heath, Old Georgians HC)

·         James Mazarelo (Manchester, Surbiton HC)

·         Nick Park (Reading, Surbiton HC)

·         Ollie Payne (Totnes, Holcombe HC)

·         Phil Roper (Chester, Holcombe HC)

·         Stuart Rushmere (Baldrine, Surbiton HC)

·         Tom Sorsby (Sheffield, Surbiton HC)

·         Zach Wallace (Caterham, HDM)

·         Jack Waller (Thames Ditton, Wimbledon)

·         Sam Ward (Leicestershire, Old Georgians)

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