"Our expertise is on the hockey pitch... It does not lie within gardening"

Emily Defroand Anna Toman
There is no douting that Anna Toman and Emily Defroand are exceptional hockey players.

Since making their international debuts, they have both won Commonwealth and European bronze medals and represented England and Great Britain more than 50 times each. Toman has only missed one international game since her first appearance in March 2017 while Defroand also won a 2017 Hockey World League Semi-Final bronze in her first major tournament.

However, as they reveal in the latest episode of Inside The Circle: The Podcast, when it comes to some domestic affairs (the two having lived together for several years) their skill levels in certain areas don’t quite match those that they exhibit on the hockey pitch.


“Our expertise is on the hockey pitch, in the kitchen making lots of nice food and eating it, socialising and everything like that. Our expertise does not lie within gardening,” stated Defroand. 

“If you could have seen our garden at the end of our tenancy in the flat we lived in… I don’t even know how to describe it. We had overgrown everything. Trees overgrown, bushes everywhere, the grass looked ridiculous. 

“It wasn’t until the end of our tenancy that we realised the front bit was actually our responsibility as well. So we really hadn’t worried about that. I’m not exaggerating when I’m saying all the leaves were coming out over the house it was so overgrown. 

“We had weeds coming in from everywhere and bless them, upstairs were not happy with how we’d let the gardening get out of hand. 

“It was bad from us but we’ve learned from our mistakes – we’ve got a gardener at our house to take the responsibility away from us because we are not very good at gardening.

“I’m a bit out of my depth when it comes to gardening unfortunately. Toman tried to use the lawnmower and managed to mow over the cable so she’s not much better!”

When they moved out of the flat and into a house together, the duo also found that putting together flatpack furniture is also much more difficult than it seems. So much so that they had to rely on their team-mates to put everything together for them.

Recalling one incident, Toman said: “We got a few side tables, a TV stand and a big stand for the living room and dining room. We got it all out and we were very determined to do it just us two. 

“This tiny side table took us 45 minutes and we still didn’t do it right. It had a stand that was supposed to be straight but it was at an angle and not holding anything up at all. We were getting so frustrated and this was the smallest, easiest bit. 

“I’d documented it on my Instagram and Ellie Rayer messaged saying ‘do you want me to come and help? I really enjoy putting flatpacks together’. To begin with I just thought it was Ellie being nice but the next day we realised we really ahd to get some help. 

“In comes Ellie Rayer with her electric screwdriver and she saved the day. Ellie basically did all of it and she did it in the time we made the little table and she corrected that too.”

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