University of Bath sporting scholar Tim Nurse is looking forward to showing how much he has developed as a hockey player during the past year when he makes his second appearance for Great Britain U21 at the Sultan of Johor Cup in Malaysia.
The Sports Performance student is joined in the squad for next week’s eight-team tournament in Malaysia by fellow Team Bath Buccaneers player Stuart Rushmere, with both having also been selected in the GB Elite Development Programme (EDP) for the 2018-19 season.
It is a second season in the EDP for Nurse, supported by a King Sports Scholarship, who gained his first experience of international U21 hockey at last year’s Sultan of Johor Cup as part of a GB squad that finished runners-up overall.
“I’m delighted to keep my place in the U21 squad and be going to Malaysia again, I feel I can make more of an impression this year,” he said.
“It was my first U21 competition last year and I have developed a lot as a player since then. It was more about gaining experience last year, now it’s about making an impact on the team.
“It’s great that Stuart is part of the squad as well. He’s a really close friend of mine and he’s just as excited as I am. He played for England U21 against Germany in August but this will be his first major tournament.”
Both Nurse and Rushmere, a Year 13 student at Millfield School in Somerset, were selected for the EDP after impressing during three weeks of trials and assessments with Great Britain Hockey at Bisham Abbey and Lilleshall last month.
“It’s been a really good programme to be a part of,” said Nurse. “It is designed to bridge the gap between development hockey and seniors, and it has taken everyone’s hockey to another level.
“This year there are going to be a couple of games against the GB seniors, so that should be a really good opportunity to see where we are actually at compared to them.”
Nurse trains twice a month with GB, fitting in those two-day sessions with his hockey commitments with both the University and Team Bath Buccaneers squads as well as his studies.
“I coach the Buccs U16 team so it’s a good job I enjoy hockey!” he said.
“I’m missing the first three games of the Team Bath Buccs season as I’m with England but I think it’s going to be a good year. We have a very different team to last year but it’s an exciting squad and I’m looking forward to seeing how we get on.
“The University hockey is great to part of, very sociable, and pre-season has been really good. We got to the BUCS semi-finals last year and only lost to Durham on flicks, so hopefully we can improve on that this time round.”
The Sultan of Johor Cup gets under way on Saturday (October 6) with Great Britain facing New Zealand in the opening match. They will then take on Japan on October 7, Australia on October 9, host nation Malaysia on October 10 and India on October 12 before the classification matches on October 13.