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Herbert and Gilbert return to GB side for Olympic hockey test event
Great Britain will face opponents Korea, China and Argentina across four days of competition. With China and Korea both in GB's Olympic pool, coach Danny Kerry is wary of showing too much of his hand ahead of the Olympics. He has also named only one goalkeeper for the tournament on the blue turf of Riverside Stadium in Olympic Park.
Among the 18 athlete squad is Leicester’s Rebecca Herbert and University of Birmingham’s Susie Gilbert who both return after missing out on the 2012 Champions Trophy in Argentina back in February. The side includes 16 of the players who brought back a silver medal from Argentina with defender Sally Walton and goalkeer Abi Walker missing out this time.
Speaking about his squad selection, Great Britain’s Head Coach Danny Kerry said, “The final Olympic team will not necessarily come from this squad. Korea and China will both be in our pool for the Olympic Games and so there will also be an element of keeping back aspects of our game.”
In contrast to the majority of international tournaments Reading’s Beth Storry is the only goalkeeper to be named in the squad. Commenting on this decision Kerry said, "We have decided to only name one goalkeeper for the four matches to facilitate looking further at outfield options. Our primary aim at the test event will be looking at combinations of players across certain lines to assist our thinking toward the final Olympic Games and to continue to evolve our play.”
Included in line-up for the tournament is the Reading sextet of Alex Danson, Helen Richardson, Emily Maguire, Laura Bartlett, Beth Storry and Kate Walsh who all played in Argentina. Among the six are the two Brits who were named in the 2011 FIH All Stars team - Alex Danson and Helen Richardson and also the two Scottish representatives - Laura Bartlett and Emily Maguire. Making up the final two Reading spots are Great Britain Captain Kate Walsh and sole goalkeeper for the tournament Beth Storry who, between them, have 384 combined caps for England and Great Britain. If selected for the first game of the tournament next week Kate Walsh will make her 100th appearance for Great Britain against Korea.
The Great Britain squad, supported by Investec, contains five players from Leicester who were recently crowned Investec Women’s Hockey League Champions after narrowly defeating Reading at the Investec Finals Weekend earlier in April. Crista Cullen, Rebecca Herbert, Chloe Rogers, Hannah Macleod and Anne Panter will all travel to the Riverbank Arena on Olympic Park to compete in the tournament.
Speaking about his side’s approach to the tournament, Kerry said, "Our opponents offer us an excellent opportunity to further experience their styles of play. All the teams contain a considerable counter-attack threat. Park for Korea is one of the world’s leading forwards and has a very differing skill set to many forwards against whom we play. Fu Barong, Song Qingling and Gao for China represent a major strike force with Olympic silver medal credentials. World Champions Argentina have high levels of individual skill across their playing group allied with tactical acumen and big match experience. We feel very capable of matching these world class teams but the focus ultimately will be on preparing for the Games themselves. Results in this respect are secondary to our Olympic preparation."
The VISA International Invitational Hockey Tournament is the penultimate tournament for the Great Britain Women’s Hockey Team before the Olympic Games this Summer. In the middle of the Olympic sandwich Danny Kerry will name a squad for the Investec London Cup which will take place from the 5-10 June 2012 at the University of Westminster ground, Chiswick.
BBC Sport will be broadcasting coverage of all of the Great Britain women’s matches at the London Prepares VISA International Invitational Hockey Tournament on the BBC Red Button and BBC Sport website. The coverage will coincide with the times listed below. Please note the schedule is subject to change.
VISA International Invitational Hockey Tournament GB Fixtures
Wednesday 2 May 2012 – 13:15 – Great Britain v Korea
Thursday 3 May 2012 – 13:15 – China v Great Britain
Saturday 5 May 2012 – 11:45 – Great Britain v Argentina
Sunday 6 May 2012 – 12:15 – Women’s Final
Great Britain Women’s Squad for London Prepares VISA International Invitational Hockey Tournament
Name (Club) Position [Home Nation] Great Britain Caps/Great Britain Goals - Home Nation Caps/Home Nation Goals - Age
Ashleigh Ball (Slough) Midfielder [England] 17/4 – 48/1 - 26
Laura Bartlett (Reading) Forward [Scotland] 36/4 - 57/# 23
Crista Cullen (Leicester) Defender [England] 68/23 - 92/24 - 26
Alex Danson (Reading) Forward [England] 49/20 - 123/29 - 26
Susie Gilbert (University of Birmingham) Midfielder [England] 25/2 - 40/5 - 23
Rebecca Herbert (Leicester) Forward [England] 21/3 - 67/8 - 25
Hannah Macleod (Leicester) Forward [England] 15/2 - 46/5 - 27
Emily Maguire (Reading) Defender [Scotland] 21/0 - 71/# - 24
Anne Panter (Leicester) Defender [England] 44/1 - 51/3 - 28
Helen Richardson (Reading) Midfielder [England] 76/6 - 146/22 - 30
Chloe Rogers (Leicester) Midfielder [England] 50/4 - 99/11 - 27
Natalie Seymour (EuroCanterbury) Defender [England] 17/0 - 51/0 - 25
Beth Storry (Reading) Goalkeeper [England] 30/0 - 71/0 - 34
Sarah Thomas (No Club) Forward [Wales] 54/6 - 69/# - 31
George Twigg (Clifton) Midfielder [England] 11/1 - 28/2 - 21
Laura Unsworth (Loughborough Students) Defender [England] 23/1 - 47/0 - 24
Kate Walsh (Reading) Defender [England] 99/9 - 184/31 - 31
Nicola White (Slough) Forward [England] 24/0 - 44/4 - 24