When I started playing I was one of the youngest in the team at Milton Keynes. It was pretty clear that I was number 8 in the team and really wouldn’t get much hockey as the rest of the squad were older, better skaters and a lot bigger than I.
As fate would have it in our first competitive season we were having a great season winning the league, then found out that our keeper was too old by two months, we had no idea and we were docked 12 points putting us back to joint 2nd place. It was at that stage when we needed a keeper that my Dad pointed out that I could either sit on the bench as the number 8 on rink or start every game as a keeper, it made sense to me and my goalkeeping days started with a baptism of fire…
I put 100% into training and went on to get into the England training squads and was technically the number 3 in the country behind two other keepers that went on to have long distinguished careers as the England number 1 & 2 and deservedly so, I never played for England as a goalkeeper.
After 2 years as a keeper I started playing both as a keeper and rink player as we’d had other players that had joined as keepers. So I jumped at the opportunity to try my hand on rink full time, within a year I had represented England in Belgium at the age of 18.
After that I played for England in 5 Championships all around Europe and the rest of the world and I am so proud to have worn the England shirt, sung the National Anthem and represented my country, which taught me so much.
At 29 years old I stopped playing international hockey in 2000 at Buckmore Park in Kent, crowning my England career with a Gold medal for winning the World Group B Championships and being part of a great team that took England back into the Group A’s. It was a great achievement and more importantly included winning with my brother Nigel. This was a great time to retire from international duty on a high as in 2001, my first daughter was born and life priorities changed forever.
At 50 years old (at the time of writing), I am still coaching, playing ND1 and wear the hats of Head Coach and Chairman of the Letchworth Rink/Roller Hockey Club and still loving every minute of it.
I get so much pleasure now giving back by coaching and seeing our stars of the future coming through the club and teaching them this fantastic sport.
I am really looking forward to the future of our club post Covid-19 and can see that we have a strong future ahead of us.
Many hat wearer!