Team GB Hal­l­i­day’s time to re­lax

Rio-bound hockey coach takes to the crease

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - SPORT - By Tim Street tim.street@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

Hockey coach Andy Hal­l­i­day (right) with Hawridge & Choles­bury CC team mate James Cath be a nervy tour­na­ment. By rights, look­ing at our squad and our world rank­ing, we should be qual­i­fy­ing for the Olympics. But the way the qual­i­fi­ca­tion sys­tem was set-up meant it went down to one-off games, in which any­thing could hap­pen.

“I never had any doubt we would do it, so it’s more a sense of re­lief than feel­ing cock-a-hoop. It also means we can en­joy the Euro­pean Cup, in Lon­don, in Au­gust, as if we hadn’t qual­i­fied through the World League we’d have to qual­ify through that in­stead.

“I’ve got a few week­ends of cricket now be­fore go­ing out to the Ham­burg Mas­ters, and then it’s back for the Euro­pean Cup. I do miss the cricket when I’m not play­ing and hope­fully I can get some runs over the next few weeks, as they have been lack­ing a bit.”

Hal­l­i­day led the GB men to fourth place at Lon­don 2012 and while a medal of any sort in Rio would be a big achieve­ment, he is only tar­get­ing one colour.

He added: “A medal is our aim, but we’re set­ting our sights on gold be­cause you have to.

“We feel we’re clos­ing the gap on Aus­tralia and we’ll spend the next 15 months work­ing on those pre­cise de­tails which could draw us level with them.”

While Hal­l­i­day was out in Bel­gium, he was be­ing cheered on back home by his Hawridge & Choles­bury team-mates, ac­cord­ing to club cap­tain Neil Jones.

Jones said: “It’s al­ways good to have Andy back. He’s a huge in­flu­ence and an ex­pe­ri­enced player. I think it’s fair to say none of us knew any­thing about hockey be­fore Andy came along, but now we’re all ex­perts.”

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