West Chiltington’s Maddie Hinch has been named as the Hockey Writers’ Club 2015 player of the year.
The England and Great Britain goalkeeper took the women’s gong at the annual awards presentation lunch on Wednesday at the Royal Thames Yacht Club, Knightsbridge.
GB defender Iain Lewers took the men’s award for the second year running - and the two players also won the Marjorie Pollard and Chris Moore salvers for their performances at the EuroHockey Championships at Lee Valley in the summer.
Hinch’s glorious moment came in winning a shoo tout in the EuroHockey final against the world and Olympic champions Netherlands in front of a home crowd at Lee Valley in the Olympic Park.
England women came from 2-0 down before overcoming the Dutch to win the Championships for the first time since 1991. Hinch was the hero, saving three penalties and making a number of other superb stops.
Hinch said:“It is such a great honour to win both these awards and to be honest I was surprised to hear I had. It has been a fantastic year for us as a squad with a lot of strong individual performances throughout so these awards cap off a pretty surreal 2015 for me.
“Qualifying for Rio and in the fashion we did it in - unbeaten and conceding only two goals - was a fantastic achievement for us, but the stand out highlight of the year has to be the European Final and beating the Dutch to take the gold medal in front of a home crowd.
“I still get goose bumps thinking about it. I did unfortunately tear my medial cruciate ligament (MCL) in my right knee during the third shuffle. I felt something go in my knee, but with so much adrenaline running through my body I wasn’t aware of what I had done.”
“I don’t think the ‘pile on’ after helped much though. The World League finals recently in Argentina was a good trip for us to try out a few new things and continue our development as a team.
“Having said this,we went out there to do the best we could, taking each game one at a time, so to finish seventh overall was disappointing. But with the Olympics very much the main focus, there are plenty of important learnings we can take from Argentina on to Rio.”
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