Sporting scholar Vicki McCabe excited to finally be representing England Hockey at Women’s Junior World Cup in South Africa

29 March 2022

University of Bath sporting scholar Vicki McCabe is looking forward to finally experiencing a Hockey World Cup for the first time as she prepares to represent England in South Africa five months later than planned.

The Sports Performance student, who is supported by an Ivor Powell Scholarship, was originally selected for the FIH Hockey Women’s Junior World Cup in Potchefstroom, South Africa back in November.

However, the tournament was postponed just days before it was due to begin following travel restrictions imposed due to the emergence of the Covid Omicron variant. It is now taking place from 1-12 April and will be the first Junior Women’s World Cup since 2016.

“I’ve played in other championships before but I’ve never been to a World Cup, so I am very excited to finally be going,” said McCabe, who is part of the GB Women’s Elite Development Programme (EDP) for players with Olympic potential.

“It was so frustrating before Christmas. I had already got everything packed and then three days before we were due to fly out we got a message to say the tournament had been cancelled.

“A couple of the players who were selected have moved into the senior squad and others have had to drop out, so there are only nine of us from the original squad but the new girls who have come in are all really nice and preparations have gone well.

“Because we are such a new team our goal is to play some good, connected hockey and hopefully that will lead to some good results. I’m a striker so I would love to get on the scoresheet a couple of times as well.”

Vicki McCabe in action for the University of Bath women’s team this season. CREDIT: Tom Ball

McCabe’s international involvement means she will miss the end of an exciting domestic season with both the University of Bath and Team Bath Buccaneers women’s 1sts.

“We are pushing for promotion with Buccs and Wednesday hockey with the student squad has been so much fun,” she said. “We won seven and drew one of our eight games to top the ICG Women’s Premier South Division and have qualified for the play-off final.

“I’m going to miss the last couple of games while I’m with England but hopefully the girls can see it out, it has been a really enjoyable season.”

This week sees Jody Paul, Head of Hockey at Team Bath, move into his new role as assistant coach to the GB and England senior women’s squads. He has also worked with the GB Women’s EDP and England U21 teams, meaning he has played a big role in McCabe’s hockey career to date.

“We are going to miss Jody a lot at Bath, especially me because he has been my coach with Great Britain as well,” she said. “He has been brilliant to work with – for university, club and country – and this is such a great opportunity for him. I hope we get to work together again in future.”

England have been drawn in Pool B at the World Cup and will face hosts South Africa on Friday 1st (10am BST) and Ireland on Saturday 2nd (6pm BST). Sadly Ukraine, who England were due to face in their third group match on Monday 4th, have had to withdraw from the tournament and will not be replaced. The knockout and ranking stages begin on Thursday 7th with the final taking place on Tuesday 12th (2.45pm BST).

The University of Bath’s ICG Women’s Premier (National) Play-off final against Newcastle is taking place on the Astro pitches at the Sports Training Village on Wednesday 6th April (7pm).

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

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