Sutton’s former Belper player Andy Taylor to spearhead England Masters hockey challenge

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Sutton’s Andy Taylor starts his second season as England Masters Hockey (over 40s) manager this weekend with a trip to Swansea for the Home Internationals.

Last year England lost the home nations title to Ireland, but former Belper Hockey Club man Andy and his team are looking to swiftly change that swiftly and he said: “In Ireland last August we let ourselves down and took the opposition a little too lightly which cost us dear, letting a 2-0 lead slip to eventually lose 4-2.

“But this year we won’t be making the same mistakes twice.

“We may have won our other two games against Scotland and Wales but finishing second is not something we take well.”

Taylor started his hockey career with Mansfield Hockey Club 40 years ago and later moved to North Notts before spending over 15 years at Belper Hockey Club.

On this season’s squad, he said: “We have a great squad this year of ex-full internationals and ex-national league players.

“The squad is very together in its ambition to ensure we not only win the Home Nations this weekend, but also the summer’s European Championships in St Albans.

“I still have to pinch myself every time I go onto the pitch with these players, wearing the England Badge as England manager is very humbling but it also gives a feeling of huge pride and passion. “It’s been a long journey from the early days playing on grass pitches with Mansfield, but just shows what can be achieved with a good grounding.”

England open against defending champions Ireland on Friday night followed by Scotland on Saturday and finish against hosts Wales on Sunday afternoon.