Wimbledon add huge quality for new English season

©: Frank Uijlenbroek/world Sport Pics

Wimbledon Hockey Club today announced the signings of 10 new players across their elite men and women’s squads with a series of high profile new arrivals.

They are looking to build on a big 12 months in which they became the first English club to reach the EHL FINAL4 since 2011 whil their women’s team won the Investec National East Conference for the first time.

The new signings include the return of former Great Britain international Alastair Brogdon from Dutch side Rotterdam, and commanding defender and two-time Olympian Iain Lewers from Holcombe.

They are joined by Ed Horler and Jonty Griffiths who are both in the Great Britain centralised programme at Bisham Abbey alongside existing Wimbledon players Ian Sloan, Phil Roper, Mikey Hoare and Henry Weir.

They will all be lining up their trip to Barcelona where they will meet HC Bloemendaal and SV Arminen in Euro Hockey League’s ROUND1 from October 6-8 at the Pau Negre Stadium.

On the women’s side, current Great Britain International, fresh from helping secure a European bronze medal, Anna Toman joins alongside New Zealander Bridgette Allen, Scottish International Fiona Bruce and former England U-21 players Mollie Rawnsley, Kate Maxey and striker Eliza Brett.

In addition to strengthening their elite teams, the club have also added a fourth available pitch for the junior section and increasing the hours of coaching delivered to juniors by current and former Olympic hockey players.

An exciting development has seen the club develop a community outreach programme, delivering free hockey coaching to local junior schools who wouldn’t otherwise have the chance to be exposed to the sport.

Speaking about the initiative, Olympic gold medallist Crista Cullen said: “It’s brilliant that Wimbledon HC are taking such a proactive approach to championing hockey within the community we exist in. Alongside success at a national and international level hopefully we can be beacon for hockey and more than a club.”

Having overseen the transformation of Wimbledon, Director of Hockey Ben Marsden, commented: “With so many developments throughout the entire club, we are very excited about the season ahead at Wimbledon.

“We have opened our doors at grassroots level, have a bourgeoning adult team section and, with some exciting signings at the top end, are confident of delivering our premise of continuous progression, always moving forward.”