Mansfield hockey coach enjoys success at World Cup

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A hockey coach from Mansfield has enjoyed double success at the Masters World Cup in Australia.

Andy Taylor, who is director of hockey at Mansfield HC, travelled to Canberra to take part in the tournament both as manager of the England Masters over-40s squad and as a coach of the over-55s team.

And although the over-40s suffered heartbreak in the final with defeat to Australia, the over-55s were crowned world champions after this time getting revenge on the host nation.

The over-40s started the tournament well with wins over Malaysia (10-1), New Zealand (2-0) and the Barbarians (3-1).

That was followed by a 3-3 draw with Australia and a 5-0 win against the USA in the final group game, all of which meant another meeting with Australia in the final.

The score was 1-1 at half-time but after England had twice taken the lead to go 3-2 ahead, Australia levelled with just three minutes to go and then stole the winner through a penalty stroke just 30 seconds from the end, meaning a silver medal for Taylor and his team.

The over-55s had a perfect tournament. They beat South Africa 5-0 and then Wales 3-0 before overcoming New Zealand 2-0 on day three.

Reigning champions Australia were then beaten 3-1 and further victories over Scotland (3-1) and Ireland (2-1) set up another final with the host nation.

This time England got off to a blistering start and led 3-0 inside 20 minutes, the hosts never able to recover as England eventually won 4-1 to be crowned champions with seven wins out of seven.

Taylor said: “To be just two minutes away from being a double world champion was heart-breaking but to see the 55s win and achieve what so few people are able to do in now being able to call myself a world champion is priceless.

“My own very humble beginnings, playing for Mansfield HC on grass in Sutton-in-Ashfield, seems an absolute world away from travelling to Australia to complete in a World Cup, and to come home a champion is both surreal and humbling.

“I had two great squads to work with and the commitment levels these guys put in has to be seen to be believed. I’m gutted that both didn’t win but when you put things into perspective, to go into the backyard of the world champions and win a silver and a gold medal is more than I would ever have believed possible.”

Taylor is now looking forward to taking his England over 40s team to Glasgow in May for the Home Nations as reigning champions.