London 2012 medallists head to Bracknell Hockey ClubBy Dave Wright
September 10, 2012
Three Olympic bronze medallists helped boost the town’s hockey players when they reported for training last week.
Great Britain skipper Kate Walsh, Helen Richardson and Hannah Macleod visited Bracknell Hockey Club’s training sessions to help promote the sport and continue the Olympic legacy they had a hand in creating at last month’s Games in London.
The hockey club has benefited from the enormous interest generated by the girls’ triumph
Kate and Helen, both Reading Hockey Club players, called in at the club’s Birch Hill ground last Wednesday, followed by Leicester’s Hannah on Saturday.
Libby Mound, ladies section captain, said: “We were delighted to see them.
“They spent a lot of time talking to players and visitors, showing them their bronze medals, signing autographs and posing for photographs.”
More than 20 players reported for training, some of them as part of the nationwide ‘back-to-hockey’ scheme.
Kate, who brought along the Olympic Torch she carried in addition to her medal, said: “When we turned up we were delighted to see so many people.
“Several of the club’s regular players were there, but I think about half the ladies were for the back-to-hockey session and I hope many of them will join the club.”
The 32-year-old defender said that all the Great Britain squad are keen to promote the sport and attract more women to play.
“It was something we spoke about in the three years while we prepared for the Olympics.”
Helen added: “We wanted to be successful for ourselves and for the national team as the future of the sport rests with the national team.
“We felt it was important to help the sport and it is great for us to be able to do that.
“Since the Olympics we have gone into clubs and hear stories of people saying: ‘We have come back to the sport because of you guys.’
“It is great to hear of women coming back into the game. We love the game and, though it sounds a bit corny, we look at hockey as being part of one big family.”
Bracknell HC is hoping to extend its own family and they have entered a new third team in the Trysports League Division 5 for the coming season.
Libby said: “We only have around 30 members, so we certainly need more players to join the club.”
Among those looking to join the club is Amie Williams, an army captain based at Tidworth.
She volunteered to take over the most specialised position in hockey, that of goalkeeper.
“I don’ mind throwing myself about,” said the 32-year-old Londoner, who also plays rugby for the army.
“I love all team sports; netball, basketball, you name it, I will give it a go.
“I have enjoyed myself in training and looking forward to playing for Bracknell.”
Amie will continue to play for Wasps but is confident she can fit in both rugby and hockey during her weekends.
With enthusiasm high, the future looks bright as the club aiming to regain former glories.
They were once members of the national league when coached by international player and former Olympian Soma Singh.
Players drifted away for various reasons and the club dropped down through the leagues.
But they are now looking to move back up. The senior squad play in the Trysports League’s Premier Division and will be hoping to challenge for honours this season.