History in the making as Team Bath Buccs’ Liam Sanford gets England Hockey call

16 January 2017

Rising hockey star Liam Sanford has made history after becoming the first-ever Team Bath Buccaneers player to be called up to the England Hockey national men’s squad. 

The 20-year-old is one of nine new faces added to the 27-man central programme – funded by UK Sport and the National Lottery – by England and Great Britain Head Coach Bobby Crutchley, who was previously Head Hockey Coach at the University of Bath.

Former Team Bath players Ed Horler and Harry Gibson have also been named in the squad at the start of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic cycle.

Sanford, who plays at full-back, earned his place after impressing during six weeks of three-day training camps with the senior England squad at their Bisham Abbey headquarters during October and November.

Assisted by the SSE Next Generation Programme, a scheme run in partnership with SportsAid to provide financial support and training to the sports stars of the future, Sanford has represented England at U21 level and competed at last month’s Junior World Cup in India.

Liam Sanford on the ball for Team Bath Buccaneers
Liam Sanford on the ball for Team Bath Buccaneers

Nick Kendall, Hockey Development Manager at the University of Bath and Chair of Team Bath Buccaneers, said: “This is fantastic news for both Liam and the club. We have never had a current Buccaneers player in the England squad before, so this is a real piece of history.”

National coach Crutchley, a University of Bath Hall of Fame for Sport inductee, added: “We’re very excited about this new group. There has been significant change and we’re looking forward to really getting going and developing the players.

“When we had the players in for assessment late last year, seeing how keen and eager the players were really reinvigorated the group and will keep all of us on our toes.

“We’ve got some key tournaments coming up this year, particularly the Hockey World League in London and the EuroHockey Championships in Holland, and while we’ll be taking something of a long lens for those events. We need to improve quickly and create a team that will stand us in good stead for the whole [Tokyo] cycle.

“I’m excited about the challenge – we have a vibrant squad with a good blend of youth & experience, and we’re eager to get going.”

Click here to find out more about the hockey programme at the University of Bath.

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