Hampstead & Westminster announce signings ahead of new season

Kate Richardson-Walsh and Sarah Kelleher look on from the Hampstead & Westminster dugout (pic Mark C

Kate Richardson-Walsh and Sarah Kelleher look on from the Hampstead & Westminster dugout (pic Mark Clews) - Credit: Archant

Hampstead & Westminster have announced a host of new signings ahead of the 2020-21 hockey season.

Having already added Olympic gold medalist Nicola White to their women’s team earlier this summer, the Maida Vale club revealed current GB international Esme Burge was joining the ranks from the University of Nottingham.

Burge made her senior GB debut during the 2019 FIH Pro League, having scored twice at the Under-21 World Cup in 2016 when aged just 17. She netted the winner in the bronze-medal match at the European Under-21s a year later.

Coached by Hampstead’s Sarah Kelleher while with England Under-18s, Burge has a family connection to Hampstead, with her grandad having been the scorer for the cricket club back in the 1930s.

Livy Paige also joins after three successful seasons at the University of Birmingham, including three gold medals at the BUCS Championships.

Well known to coach Kate Richardson-Walsh having impressed at a young age when making her Premier League debut at Reading, Paige has eight England caps and played in the World League Finals in New Zealand in 2017, having won European Under-21 bronze and competed at the Junior World Cup in 2016.

Meanwhile, Pippa Lewis and Issy Davison both join from Holcombe, as goalkeeper Amber Walton switches from Loughborough University.

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Walton started at Surbiton and has played international hockey since the age of 17, including under Kelleher with England Under-18s, and has 15 caps for the elite development programme/Under-21 squad.

She said: “I’m really excited to get stuck in with a world-class training environment to help push myself and strengthen as a player in a supportive and competitive squad.

“I’m extremely excited about joining Hampstead for the season and getting to know a new group of very talented players, which will continue to test my capabilities and help myself to grow further.”

Completing the set of new faces, so far, for the women is Phoebe Willars, who moves from Leicester, where she was an Indoor Super Sixes finalist in 2018, to link up with former teammate Burge.

Hampstead’s men have added American vice-captain Mohan Gandhi to their squad, after two titles in five seasons at Beeston and the last two seasons at Club an der Alster in the German Bundesliga.

And Joe Sharp also joins from Beeston, where he won two titles and the cup and played over 100 Premier League games.

The women start their Premier Division season at Beeston on September 19, while the men visit Exeter University a day later.