By Alana Ker Mercer
Six individuals from Durham University Hockey Club have taken to the international stage this summer, competing in both the Junior European Hockey Championships and senior test matches.
DUHC Goal Keepers Louisa Bray and Ollie Payne represented England in the Junior European Championships, whilst field-player Izzie Howell took vice-captaincy for U21 Wales during the competition.
Howell saw success with the Welsh side, aiding her squad to promotion to Division 1 for the next series and a bronze medal. Talking to Howell, she explains that ‘promotion was our aim from the beginning’, with the role of vice-captain adding additional pride to the occasion and allowing a positive conclusion to her junior years.
Howell has now been selected to perform for senior Wales during their European Championship campaign.
For Payne, the outcome of the tournament was that of a silver medal, with the team missing out on gold with a 5-3 defeat to Germany – their first and only defeat of the event. Payne is reported to have produced ‘stunning saves’ and provide solid security within the net for the squad.
The woman’s U21 England side conceded to a disappointing 3-2 shootout defeat against Russia, having drawn their previous Euro Hockey Championship match 2-2.
Bray describes the competition as a ‘great experience’, for despite the squad failing to claim a semi-final spot, ‘the opportunity to perform against some of the best European teams’ is one of an immense learning curve which develops skill and proficiency for future performance on the international stage.
Performing for senior Scotland, postgraduates Lorna Jane Cruickshank and Kerry-Anne Hastings joined the squad ahead of preparation for the upcoming Euro Hockey Championship II in Glasgow later this month.
Cruickshank scored her first goal for senior Scotland, providing the Tartan Hearts with a halfway lead and aiding the pleasing result of a 2-1 win in Stormont.
Still competing on the senior platform, Tess Howard continues to represent the Great Britain women’s side, recently competing against Japan in the build-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games.
Furthermore, alumni Jack Waller has been selected to perform for the England squad competing in the Invitational Four Nations series before commencement of the senior men’s EuroHockey Championships in Antwerp.
Representation at such a high level for DUHC reaffirms the clubs stance as one of the highest achieving hockey programmes in the UK.
Photograph: Lorna Jane Cruickshank and Kerry-Anne Hastings via Lorna Jane Cruickshank