Alice in England wonderland
DESPITE some tough defeats, Alice Handy says her first experience of pulling on an England jersey is one she will never forget.
The Sevenoaks hockey star played a key role for England U16s in the Four Nations tournament, in Germany, at Easter.
Taking on three of Europe's powerhouses – Spain, Germany and Holland – was always going to be a tall order and so it proved as England lost all three fixtures. However, those defeats haven't put Alice off and she cannot wait to be involved again in the future.
"I was very excited lining up for the first match against Germany, but soon settled down and I was very pleased with my performances across the course of the tournament," the 16-year-old said. "Being in defence I had a lot to do! Pulling on the England shirt, particularly for the first time, felt very unusual and everyone was extremely excited.
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"We lined up on the pitch before each game to sing the national anthem, which was a very special experience for us all.
" I think the highlight, for me, was undoubtedly the team. It was such a lovely group of girls and we all really bonded well over the six days and became very close during our first international tournament."
England opened up with a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Spain and further, heavy losses followed against Germany and Holland.
"We had a very close game against Spain with the score 0-0 at half-time,," Alice said.
"Holland, who won the U16 tournament, and Germany are two of the strongest hockey nations in Europe. We knew both teams would be tough opponents and so we had a lot of defending to do.
"We were 1-0 down at half-time in both matches although in the second half they pulled away and won by quite a margin."
Alice has been invited to the next training camp on May 5 and hopes to be selected for friendly matches against Belgium, Scotland, Ireland and Germany in the summer. She is out for revenge against Germany.
"I'm really looking forward to these fixtures, especially Germany, to hopefully show them how much we have improved by July," she said.