British players abroad

Helen Richardson Walsh celebrates 480

Almost immediately after returning from the Olympic Games, four of the Great Britain gold medal winners headed off their new homes over in the Netherlands. Kate and Helen Richardson-Walsh, Maddie Hinch and Sophie Bray had all signed contracts pre-Olympics to go and ply their trade in what is widely considered the best league in the world.

Sky Sports have been keeping a close eye on their fortunes with reporter Jane Dougall heading over to the Netherlands to see how the players have settled in as part of their coverage for the SportsWomen programme.

“We train four times a week and also do a series of video sessions. There’s a real professional set up here.” Kampong’s Sophie Bray tells Dougall. “in terms of the level, it’s just down from international level. It’s the best league in the world.”

 Bray’s Kampong side currently sit in fifth place in the table whilst international team mate Maddie Hinch’s SCHC side are in second. Next weekend (30 October) they face each other head on, with Hinch aiming to stop Bray adding to her tally of seven goals in seven games, a total that has taken her to third in the top scorers' charts. Kate and Helen’s Bloemendaal side have endured a tough start to the season. With a young inexperienced side, the Great Britain duo are set to play a key role in helping their side to move away from the foot of the table whilst passing on their wealth of knowledge to their team mates. Hinch too has become involved with the development of talent at her new club, taking on the coaching responsibilities for the junior goalkeepers.

Whilst all four have thrown themselves into their new challenges, they are still fully aware of what is going on back home with hockey and the increased interest in the sport. Hinch told Sky Sports:

“We must capitalise on this period. We’ve never had this interest in the sport. There’s a lot of work to be done but I’m confident the guys back at Bisham Abbey know what needs to be done and are doing it. This is the start of something exciting. If we don’t make the most of it now the game will never change.”

With club numbers swelling and the media glare on hockey brighter than it ever has been, as Hinch says, the time is now to capitalise. For the time being however, the four golden girls are focusing on the task of competing in the best league in the world.

You can watch the full video of the girls in Holland on the Sky Sports website.