Hockey: Defroand gets GB call for Pro League
PUBLISHED: 12:00 01 February 2019
Havering’s Emily Defroand could not hide her excitement after being named in the Great Britain women’s team for their opening FIH Pro League fixtures.
A 20-strong squad has been chosen to take on New Zealand (February 8), Australia (February 16) and China (February 23) in the new competition and GB will be captained by 2016 Olympic gold medalist Hollie Pearne-Webb.
Former Coopers pupil Defroand, who won bronze with England at the Commonwealth Games in Australia last year, said: “Absolutely delighted to have been selected to represent out squad for the first FIH Pro League fixtures of 2019.
“26 days; 3 destinations; Christchurch, New Zealand; Perth, Australia; Changzhou, China; 3 matches!”
The 25-year-old Defroand has 35 caps (31 England, 4 GB) to her name to date and the latest squad includes players from all three Home Nations, with Sarah Jones representing Wales alongside Scottish internationals Sarah Robertson and Nikki Cochrane.
Acting head coach David Ralph said: “It’s a wonderful opportunity for an exciting team to showcase what they are capable of, to perform against some of the best teams in the world and set us on our path as GB for the qualification process for the Olympics.
“Hopefully there will be a big crowd and good atmosphere at the games. We’re in this sport to play in big events, every one of these games is very important, we;re going into their back yard and we’re excited about delivering on the pitch.
“The FIH Pro League is incredibly important on two fronts. Firstly as an event in itself and a revolution for the sport. Secondly, this year it plays a key part in Olympic qualification so we’re very excited about playing our first games in the tournament.”
New coach Mark Hager will meet up with the squad in New Zealand ahead of the first game, and will share coaching responsibilities with Ralph and Kevin Johnson as he gets to know the players for the first time.
GB play their first home match in the FIH Pro League against the USA in April. All matches will be shown on BT Sport.
GB squad: Ansley, Balsdon, Cochrane, Defroand, Evans, Howard, Hunt, Jones, Martin, Munro, Neal, Owsley, Pearne-Webb, Petty, Hunter, Rayer, Robertson, Sanders, Tennant, Toman.