March 1, 2017
I started playing hockey when I was about 12 years old with my brother, Nigel, and my dad. My brother was a good sportsman but as a child he was very small, so my parents – and his teachers – thought he would get trampled on the rugby pitch – his choice of sport at the time. My mum and dad looked for an alternative sport for him and me, as I wasn’t huge either, and chose hockey.
Before I was born, my dad played hockey in the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo. He continued to play and most recently played in the World Record International Game, England versus Netherlands, for over 75-year-olds, in 2015.
I play in the position of midfield and half-back, which means that I am required to play both offensively and defensively. I am probably not the most offensive player – a comment that my colleagues and partners are unlikely to agree with!
I usually play hockey two to three times a week. I currently play for Morpeth Hockey Club and prior to this played in the National Premier League at Sheffield and Doncaster for 15 years.
Being picked for the over 40s hockey Masters World Cup made me feel old! But also very privileged and honoured.
The competition was a fantastic experience from which I learnt a lot. We were on the wrong end of a couple of very close games against Germany and France but the team played really well. We had a tough group with the Germans and French going on to contest the final.
Sintons recognises that a work/life balance really matters and the partnership has been very supportive with my hockey – particularly during the World Cup when I needed to be out of the office.
It’s too early to tell if England Women’s gold medal in the Rio Olympics will help raise the profile of hockey. But what it has shown is that if you have a group of like-minded individuals who commit themselves to a common goal, you are going to get the right outcomes. I think you can apply that to anything in life, be it sport or in business. I think that the one outstanding thing about the Women’s Hockey gold medal performance was that while they were arguably outplayed for periods of the final, they were clearly the best ‘team’ in the tournament and you never thought they were out of it, even when they were behind. In the end their collective unity ensured the best possible result.