The England U21 women’s squad for the Junior World Cup in Boston has been announced today. The competition for the world’s best 16 women’s teams at under 21 level gets underway at Harvard University’s Jordan Field on Monday 3 August and runs until Sunday 16 August.
Included in coach Craig Parnham’s selection are nine of the players that won bronze at the 2008 EuroHockey Junior Nations Championships in Valencia last summer; goalkeepers Gemma Ible and Maddie Hinch, Sophie Bray, Jenny Hall, Abi Harper, Dilly Newton, Sam Quek, Georgie Twigg and Hollie Webb are all rewarded with a place for Boston. Bray, Hall, Hinch, Newton, Twigg and Webb, along with Harriet Pearce and Lauren Turner, were also members of the GB Youth squad that won gold at the Australia Youth Olympic Festival in Sydney in January 2009.
Despite their recent successes, Parnham is well aware of the challenges that lie ahead for his young squad when competing on the world stage. “It is going to be a challenging competition for this group of players, with their varying levels of experience,” he said as the squad was announced. “While we have a number of players who are quite experienced at under 21 level we also have a number of less experienced players in the squad.
“The competition is going to be strong and with Korea the double junior world champions they will certainly give us a difficult match; having said that, we are looking forward to playing the top team in the world.
“We’ve had a good week in Spain [an England U21 squad played Spain U21 in three matches earlier this week] and the girls are now thoroughly looking forward to getting underway in Boston.”
England qualified for the Junior World Cup after finishing third at the 2008 EuroHockey Junior Nations Championships in Valencia last July where they beat Belarus 5-2 to win bronze, thanks in part to a Sophie Bray hat-trick. They are joined in Pool A of the Junior World Cup by the winners of the Junior Asia Cup, Korea, whose pedigree at this level is already proven having won the previous two Junior World Cup competitions, in 2005 and 2001. France, the winners of the 2008 EuroHockey Junior Nations Trophy, and Chile, who were runners-up to USA at the Women’s Pan American Junior Championships, make up the group.
The 18 athlete squad has an average age of just 19.5 years with 21 year old Gemma Ible the oldest member of the squad and 18 year old Sarah Haycroft the youngest. Charlotte Craddock and captain Sam Quek are the squad’s most experienced players. Cannock’s Craddock (2 senior England caps, 21 Great Britain caps) played in the 2008 Great Britain women’s squad that finished sixth at the Beijing Olympic Games while Bowdon Hightown’s Quek (3 senior England caps, 11 Great Britain caps) was a member of the Great Britain training squad prior to the 2008 Olympic Games.
England has participated in each of the five Women’s Junior World Cup tournaments since the inaugural event in Ottawa, Canada, in 1989. England finished eighth that year, followed by ninth in Terrassa (Spain) in 1993, seventh in Seongnam (Korea) in 1997, eighth in Buenos Aires (Argentina) in 2001 and ninth again four years ago in Santiago (Chile).
England U21 Women’s Junior World Cup Squad
Name (Club) Age
Sophie Bray (University of Birmingham) 19
Sara-Jo Coakley (Bowdon Hightown) 21
Charlotte Craddock (Cannock) 18
Kirsty Dawson (Poynton) 20
Jenny Hall (Canterbury) 20
Abigail (Abi) Harper (Leicester) 20
Sarah Haycroft (Surbiton) 18
Madeleine (Maddie) Hinch (GK) (Loughborough Students) 20
Gemma Ible (GK) (Clifton) 21
Philippa (Dilly) Newton (Clifton) 20
Harriet Pearce (Clifton) 20
Samantha (Sam) Quek (C) (Bowdon Hightown) 20
Loren Sherer (Durham University) 20
Susie Townsend (Canterbury) 19
Amy Turnbull (Loughborough Students) 20
Lauren Turner (Leicester) 19
Georgie Twigg (Clifton) 18
Hollie Webb (Cannock) 18
England U21 Junior World Cup Fixtures – 3-16 August 2009 – Round One*
Date - Local Time - UK Time - Fixture
Monday 3 August - 1245hrs - 1745hrs - England v France
Tuesday 4 August - 1230hrs - 1730hrs - England v Korea
Thursday 6 August - 1100hrs - 1600hrs - England v Chile
*England’s results in round one will determine whether they progress to a medal pool or non-medal pool for round two from Saturday 8 August.
photo Getty Images