Hockey: Hampstead & Westminster seven in GB squads
PUBLISHED: 16:24 13 January 2020 | UPDATED: 22:51 14 January 2020
Seven Hampstead & Westminster players have been called into the Great Britain squads for their opening FIH Pro League matches next month.
Rupert Shipperley is in line to make his GB debut, having been called up for the first time, as the squad travels to play Australia (February 1-2) and New Zealand (February 8-9).
Shipperley will join fellow Welsh international and clubmate Jacob Draper - who was recently handed a full-time place in the men's programme - as well as Harry Martin and Will Calnan in Danny Kerry's squad.
And Hampstead & Westminster's Lily Owsley, Sarah Robertson and Grace Balsdon are named in the 22-strong GB women's squad by Mark Hager, as Sarah Evans, Emily Defroand and Amy Tennant miss out through injury along with Alex Danson-Bennett, who is back in training at Bisham Abbey but was never in consideration for the long-haul trip.
Shipperley has played 70 times for Wales since his debut in 2014, captaining them to sixth place at the 2019 EuroHockey Championships.
And he cannot wait to pull on a GB shirt for the first time, saying: "I was absolutely buzzing when I found out. It's been something I've been working towards for a long time, so to finally get an opportunity to play is really exciting.
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"I'm really looking forward to it. Obviously it's a really big moment. It will be nice to play with some of these players instead of against them in an international game."
Head coach Kerry said: "I'm very excited to get going in 2020 FIH Pro League with the slightly new format, which will also give us good information for Tokyo where we have some double headers.
"Australia is a fantastic fixture. They are rightly one of the leading teams in the world at the moment and it's always a fantastic game so we're looking forward to that. New Zealand have also got more of their older and more experienced players back so I'm expecting them to be stronger than our previous matches.
"He's been around the group for a little while now. He's very athletic, has good technical skills and a fantastic work rate and we want to expose him against some of the leading sides to see if he's got what it takes."
Hager added: "It's a really exciting time. We've got good versatility in our squad. It's exciting to be able to start and get underway.
"It will be an interesting concept playing the back-to-back games, which we had a little bit of experience of with the FIH Olympic Qualifier. This is an opportunity for us to start well with some good challenges - Australia played in the Grand Final last year and New Zealand have got a few players who have come back which will be interesting."
GB women: Hinch, Unsworth, Toman, Martin, Townsend, Robertson, Rayer, Howard, Jones, Ansley, Pearne-Webb, Neal, McCallin, Heesh, Owsley, Hunter, Burge, Baldson, Costello, Petter, Watson, Wilkinson.
GB men: Pinner, Gibson, Taylor, Ames, Forsyth, Shipperley, MArtin, Griffiths, Sloan, Gleghorne, Roper, Dixon, Jackson, Ansell, Condon, Waller, Gall, Sanford, Sorsby, Calnan, Wallace, Draper.