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Defroand hoping to pass finals test with Surbiton

PUBLISHED: 09:00 21 April 2017

GB international Emily Defroand with pupils at former school Coopers Coborn & Company in Upminster

GB international Emily Defroand with pupils at former school Coopers Coborn & Company in Upminster

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GB international excited by England Hockey showpiece event

Havering’s Emily Defroand is hoping to end the season on a high note at the England Hockey finals weekend at Lee Valley.

Former Coopers pupil Defroand and her Surbiton team-mates will bid for the overall crown following a successful league campaign, with the added incentive of a place in Europe.

And the 22-year-old is hoping they live up to their favourites tag, saying: “The finals weekend is always a great ending to our domestic season. The four highest-placed men and women’s teams play to be crowned overall champions of England, the top two then get a place to play in the European Hockey League next season – hockey’s version of the Champions League.

“With the play offs also being played at Lee Valley I feel like it’s as good as a home game for me!

“I would say we probably go into the weekend as slight favourites having won the Investec Women’s Premier League this season and also being the reigning champions.

“However we play my old club University of Birmingham in the semi finals and they have a very talented and youthful squad so no doubt they will give us a run for our money!

“Also Holcombe and East Grinstead, the other two semi-finalists, have an array of international players so I think it could be anyone’s call on the day.”

The men’s semi-finals take place first on Saturday, with Wimbledon meeting Hampstead & Westminster at 11am and Holcombe taking on Surbiton at 1.15pm.

Defroand’s Surbiton then meet University of Birmingham at 3.30pm, before Holcombe and East Grinstead play the last semi-final at 5.45pm.

The men’s final is at 1.45pm on Sunday, with the women’s at 4pm, and Defroand admits it would be a dream to claim the silverware, adding: “This is the pinnacle of club hockey in this country and to win it would be fantastic.

“I moved to Surbiton at the start of the season to win trophies and to play in the European Hockey League, so I’m hoping that this weekend will be the first of many years to come!”

Defroand has certainly been busy in recent weeks, making her senior England debut in South Africa in late February, while also playing in Great Britain training matches against Ireland in March and Belgium just before Easter, having been called into the squad for the next Olympic cycle.

She added: “Great Britain training has been going very well – I’m loving every minute of it.

“All of the 2016 gold medal-winning Olympians are back into the squad and training full time now, so there is definitely a huge buzz around the squad ahead of a very busy summer.”

England are due to take on the Netherlands at the Olympic Park on June 11, with the men’s Hockey World League taking place at Stratford from June 15-25.

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