Molly Redgrove is bidding for glory with the England Under-16 hockey squad — but she knows it will be tough to achieve.
England are competing in the Six Nations age-group tournament in Antwerp, Belgium starting on Sunday, taking on opponents that have, in the past, proved difficult to beat.
Redgrove, a former Sudbury player who is now with Harleston Magpies, will be coming up against host nation Belgium, plus Spain, Germany, Holland and Ireland in a round robin tournament that runs for eight days.
“I don’t know how well we will do,” she said. “We have had some close games against some of these opponents in the past. The aim is to do our best, and we do not want to come home disappointed.”
Last weekend saw England’s final warm-up camp, in Belgium, where they played three games against the hosts, with Redgrove playing in all three. Next time the two countries meet there will be more than just pride at stake.
Redgrove, who started playing hockey at Sudbury at seven, where she was noted for her tenacity, which earned her the nickname Tiger, moved to Harleston Magpies last season, and made several appearances for the England Hockey League Conference East team.
A student at Framlingham College, which has close links with the Magpies, Redgrove earned her first England call-up in February, as a member of the squad of 26 at a training camp at Lilleshall. The call-up came after a series of assessment sessions for players from all over England.
Other training camps have followed, where players are encouraged by the coaching team to set goals for themselves. “I am loving every minute of my involvement,” she said.
Following last weekend’s training camp, Redgrove and mum Cathie arrived back in Twinstead in the early hours of Monday morning. Molly will make the return trip with the England team tomorrow (Friday).
Cathie, dad Nick, and twin sister Chloe — who plays at Sudbury — will be cheering Molly on during the tournament, as well as taking in the sights of Antwerp.