WEST Chitlington goalkeeper Maddie Hinch insists confidence is high as England’s women look to claim their first-ever Unibet EuroHockey Championships at London’s Olympic Park.
Hinch will be England’s leading lady between the sticks when the tournament gets going on August 22 after being named as part of Danny Kerry’s 18-strong squad.
It’s already been a strong season for Hinch after she helped Great Britain qualify for Rio 2016 with success at the Hockey World League.
And she says that the confidence from those performances could serve as the springboard for success next week. “The squad is in a really confident place,” she said. “Coming off the back of a winning tournament gives us a huge amount of confidence going into this one, but that said it is a completely different tournament.
“It’s massive to be able to put big performances in against some of the sides that will be challenging us in Rio, and I have a feeling that these European’s will be one of the toughest yet.
“You’ve got the likes of the Dutch and the Germans, but also a lot of teams that are up and coming like Scotland and Italy who are all really competing and giving the top teams a run for their money.
“Every game will be competitive, and we’ll really have to fight every minute, but that’s exactly what we need on our run in to Rio.
“If I play well it’s usually because the team have played well in front of me, which gives me a huge amount of confidence.
“I really think we’re starting to gel as a side and I like stepping up and doing my bit for them in net – but that’s why I’m in the team anyway.”
While England have never won the Unibet EuroHockey Championships before they have plenty of pedigree having won five bronze medals and a silver from their last seven appearances and Hinch is hopeful that they can channel all that experience into performances and go one better than last time when they missed out on gold in a penalty shootout with Germany.
“When I look back on the European’s last time I just think about how exciting the whole thing was,” she added.
“To get so close but not winning was hard, but to knock the Dutch out in a shootout was amazing, so it was a real mix of emotions.
“But I think we are in a much better place two years down the line, and that makes me excited to see how far we can go this time given we were so close.”
The Unibet EuroHockey Championships 2015, featuring both England’s men’s and women’ teams, takes place between 21-30 August at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Tickets available at www.eurohockey2015.co.uk
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