Ben makes Midlands Masters Over 35s

Posted by William Ashworth on 7 November 2019

Congratulations to first team stalwart Ben Humpherson on selection for the inaugural Midlands Masters over 35 squad during the summer. Ben was fortunate to be selected to attend the first ever tournament run by England Hockey for the masters over 35 regions in preparation for the up and coming masters tournaments next year.

The tournament was held in Sheffield on the old Olympic hockey Astro turf used in the Olympic final in London. Over two days in the scorching sun the midlands team were in attendance with only 13 players on day one and 12 on day two. This was in comparison to the other regions who attended with a full complement of 18 squad members, coaches/managers and physios.

With such a close-knit hockey community within the country, the Midlands knew the other regions had had many games and training sessions together and so they were the under dogs after having no training sessions or practise. This made them more determined to achieve something over the course of the weekend.  

Ben said, “With teammate introductions out of the way, we settled down to discuss how we wanted to play and the calls we would make during the first game. It wasn’t long before we were all in agreement and headed off to warm up. Before we knew it, the whistle went to start the game and that was it, no going back.”

Game 1 was against the hosts, the North, with a 3-1 loss. Justified win for the North but we were not happy as the score did not reflect the effort that had been put in or the sway of the game. Onto game 2 against the South. Same result and same disappointment. An entire Midlands team realising that had we been able to train together before hand we could have potentially won those games.

Day 2 arrived following a tournament 3 course dinner on the Saturday night and the Midlands squad were fresh and raring to go. First up were the West. This resulted in a 2-2 draw and we could now start to see the team forming into something that was capable of winning and on another occasion beating all of the other regions. Ben said, “we had lost a player overnight so with only 1 sub we had to be smart in how we played”.

The final game for the Midlands was against the East. Ben continued, “We threw all we had into this game, as the win was the trophy we wanted. A gutsy team performance against a 17 man squad resulted in a 4-1 win for us and a real sense of pride in what we had achieved. A real underdog story”.

During the post-game discussion, it became clear that Midlands over 35’s had a future and a few days later Midland Hockey confirmed they were happy to continue developing an over 35’s squad.

For Ben, this was a real test of commitment and wanted to prove something to himself having not played at that level for many years and mentioned that he would definitely encourage club members of any age to push themselves and have confidence to achieve more than what they thought they could on a hockey pitch.

Well done to Ben for his achievement.

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