Team GB Halliday’s time to relax
Rio-bound hockey coach takes to the crease
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.”