Good­er­ham fac­tor is key to GB future

The Hockey Paper - - FEATURE|OPINION -

SO it be­gins. The an­nounce­ment of both the men’s and women’s Great Bri­tain and Eng­land squads have seen 24 new faces – nine men, 14 women – across the cen­tralised pro­gramme.

Sur­biton re­main the mar­ket lead­ers in terms of in­clu­sion num­bers in the women’s squad. But for Ge­orgie Twigg’s de­ci­sion to end her in­ter­na­tional ca­reer, coach Danny Kerry would have 10 mem­bers un­der his wing.

But Kerry has also handed four cov­eted slots to four Univer­sity of Birm­ing­ham play­ers, who will join for­ward Lily Owsley on the path to Tokyo 2020.

Credit of course goes to the im­preg­nable work achieved by their head coach Phil Good­er­ham, who year-on-year usu­ally has to con­tend with grad­u­ated stu­dents leav­ing and hav­ing to find suitable re­place­ments.

Time will tell if some of th­ese fresh faces at Eng­land Hockey's head­quar­ters are lured fur­ther south or east by the ti­tle-chas­ing clubs. This, of course, would be a shame, both for the univer­sity and the game in gen­eral. And for Good­er­ham, who has also been praised for the way he han­dles the an­nual exodus at the Pre­mier Divi­sion side.

After a few lean years, Good­er­ham has man­aged to build on his team thanks to a raft of skill­ful fresh­ers in the last two sea­sons and, cou­pled with the re­turn of Rio Olympian Lily Owsley, the young squad has lifted his side into fifth place ahead of the sec­ond half of the out­door season.

Good­er­ham said that it was “ab­so­lutely in­cred­i­ble” that nine of his side had been se­lected for the women’s Un­der-21 World Cup in De­cem­ber. “They work so hard and are so com­mit­ted in ev­ery­thing they do,” he said.

Ask­ing them to com­mit down the line to the Univer­sity side in the next few years will be a tough ask, too. The M40’s prox­im­ity to Bisham may help. It’s the least Good­er­ham de­serves.

****** Is any­one else ques­tion­ing why world hockey chiefs have gone for the 4 x15 minute quar­ters? It seems that play­ers have never been fit­ter, that in­ter­change has now been fully adopted, is bet­ter un­der­stood and yet we seem to be short­en­ing the game. Soc­cer has 2 x 45 minute halves and rugby 2 x 40 min­utes, so why has hockey gone for a ‘less is more’ op­tion?

Tele­vi­sion sched­ul­ing gets blamed for most things but given that TV plat­forms like nice, round hour slots, it does seem that 4 x 20 min­utes with breaks would have got us closer to the two-hour win­dow that we would seek to oc­cupy.

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