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Hockey: Defroand in GB squad for new FIH Pro League

PUBLISHED: 13:30 21 December 2018

Emily Defroand with the Coopers Coborn sports captains at their awards night

Emily Defroand with the Coopers Coborn sports captains at their awards night

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Havering’s Emily Defroand has been named in the Great Britain women’s squad for the first round of matches to be played in the new FIH Pro League next year, writes Lee Power.

Emily Defroand with dad Dave and mum Gill in AustraliaEmily Defroand with dad Dave and mum Gill in Australia

The event launches in 2019, with nine of the world’s best hockey-playing nations doing battle in a ground-breaking global competition.

And former Coopers pupil Defroand, having won a bronze medal with England at the Commonwealth Games in April but then missed the home World Cup in the summer due to injury, is included in a 22-strong female group.

Competing nations can use up to 32 players in each gender across the entire competition, which is seen as transforming the future of international hockey at the top level.

Playing consistently as Great Britain over the course of the next two years is seen as providing a perfect opportunity for athletes to train, compete and grow as a squad in unprecedented fashion.

Next year’s competition is also a key component of qualification for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, when the GB women will be looking to defend the title won two years ago.

The 24-year-old Defroand is joined in the squad by several of her Surbiton clubmates, including Giselle Ansley, Sarah Evans, Sabbie Heesh, Jo Hunter, Hannah Martin, Hollie Pearne-Webb and Erica Sanders.

And as well as Ansley and Pearne-Webb, the group also includes their fellow Rio Olympic gold medalists Sophie Bray, Lily Owsley, Susannah Townsend and Laura Unsworth.

GB play their first match in New Zealand on February 8, while the men – who finished fourth at the World Cup in India at the weekend – start their campaign two weeks earlier in Spain on January 25.

GB women: Ansley, Balsdon, Bray, Cochrane, Costello, Defroand, Evans, Heesh, Howard, Hunter, Martin, Neal, Owsley, Pearne-Webb, Petty, Rayer, Robertson, Sanders, Tennant, Toman, Townsend, Unsworth.

GB men: Ames, Ansell, Calnan, Condon, Creed, Dixon, Forsyth, Gall, Gibson, Gleghorne, Goodfield, Griffiths, Hoare, Martin, Pinner, Roper, Sandford, Sloan, Smith, Taylor, Wallace, Waller, Ward, Weir, Willars.

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