Debu­tant to men­tor, re­flec­tive Hay­croft has gone full cir­cle

The Hockey Paper - - FEATURE -

CHAR­LOTTE Cal­nan will not have far to look if she needs a fore­taste of the high and lows that her hockey ca­reer could now ex­pe­ri­ence af­ter learn­ing that she is part of the GB’s women’s ini­tial squad for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

All the teenager needs to do is catch the eye and have a chat over a cup of cof­fee with Sarah Hay­croft, her team-mate and club cap­tain at the In­vestec Pre­mier Divi­sion’s league lead­ers Surbiton.

For since 2012 when, in the af­ter­math of the London Olympics, she was pro­moted to the se­nior squad from be­ing cap­tain of Eng­land’s Un­der21s, Hay­croft has been through the high­est of men­tal highs, pe­ri­ods of phys­i­cal ex­haus­tion and ca­reer un­cer­tain­ties.

But she also smiles when she looks back on her first call up from Hockey’s head­quar­ters at Bisham Abbey.

“Af­ter the World Cup in 2012 we did not have a head coach so it was a slightly dif­fer­ent process from this year,” she says. “I was named as a tri­al­list for the Rio squad, with the new coach and the full squad to be named in April 2013.

“But early in Jan­uary that year a squad was sent out to South Africa for the In­vestec Chal­lenge, which in­cluded matches against Hol­land, South Africa and Aus­tralia. I was so ex­cited to be cho­sen for the trip.

“I had been to South Africa be­fore on a school hockey trip with Kingston Gram­mar School and fell in love with the hockey out there, the his­tory and coun­try.

“So it was just fan­tas­tic to re­ceive my first se­nior cap play­ing in our open­ing match in Cape Town – the hockey ground is un­be­liev­able be­cause it is si­t­u­ated at the foot of Ta­ble Moun­tain.

“To be stand­ing out there on the pitch singing the na­tional an­them be­fore play­ing my first

full in­ter­na­tional and to look out be­hind the stand and see Ta­ble Moun­tain just meant so much to me.”

Cal­nan could find her­self in South Africa, too, in July at a train­ing camp be­fore the World League fi­nals in Jo­han­nes­burg. But as a 19-year-old ‘part-time’ mem­ber of the 2020 squad, she is only one of 33 play­ers com­pet­ing for one of 18 places in each in­ter­na­tional start­ing line-up.

That, how­ever, is an un­cer- tainty she will learn to live with in the build-up to Tokyo.

Hal­croft says: “There are so many in­ter­na­tional fix­tures that she is not go­ing to be picked for ev­ery one. Just be­cause she misses out on one trip or match, it does not mean she won’t be picked for the next one.”

But be­ing a part-timer is also not so phys­i­cally de­mand­ing as the train­ing sched­ule that Hal­croft has to sign up to as a full-time hockey player.

“Char­lotte will only have to come to Bisham Abbey twice a week so that she can com­plete her stud­ies,” she said.

“As a full-time player, I am based there five days a week as well as play­ing club hockey at the week­end, and we also have two hard train­ing ses­sions ev­ery day.

“That is ex­haust­ing – there is many a morn­ing when I wake up aching ev­ery­where. As a part-timer, it’s go­ing to be a lot less painful for Char­lotte.”

To look out be­hind the stand and see Ta­ble Moun­tain in my first full in­ter­na­tional match just meant so much to me

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.