Wakefield will welcome top-class international hockey to the city in August when England take on Olympic silver-medallists the Netherlands in the NOW: Pensions Nations Cup.
The three-match series, which will help both sides prepare for the EuroHockey Championships in Belgium, has been awarded to Wakefield Hockey Club, based at College Grove, after the club brought its facilities up to international standards before last year’s Olympic Games in London.
A new blue water-based pitch, meeting international and Olympic criteria, was installed, with the club’s existing hockey pitch also being brought up to scratch, and the China women’s squad used the facilities as their warm-up base for London 2012.
College Grove hosted an international match between China and Scotland during their stay in the city and also played host to the EH National Men’s Cup Final between Premier League teams Hampstead & Westminster and Surbiton in May.
Now the club will host three England international matches in the space of four days, with England taking on their Dutch opponents on Thursday, August 1 (8pm), Saturday, August 3 (4pm) and Sunday, August 4 (2.30pm).
The Eastmoor Road club was eager to bring more top-class matches to city after upgrading its facilities last year and the three-match NOW: Pensions Nations Cup comes as a great reward for their efforts.
Chris Partridge, Wakefield Hockey Club President, said: “Wakefield Hockey Club is delighted to host this series of prestigious international matches in August. The club has had strong links with the Netherlands since 1998, through our sister club in MHC Muiderburg, and we always look forward to all forms of international opportunities.
“This event is a great chance to increase the profile of hockey in the north and we thank England Hockey for entrusting these games to our club. The club is confident that the hockey supporters from the north of England and beyond will turn out in big numbers to experience these great matches.”
Barry Middleton, England Men’s captain, said, “It’s great to be playing top-flight hockey in my home county of Yorkshire. The Netherlands are a high class side and it is sure to be a good contest ahead of the EuroHockey Championships. We hope that there’ll be plenty of home support behind us and that this is the start of many NOW: Pensions Nations Cup events.”
England U21s will also take on their Malaysia counterparts in warm-up matches before the senior clashes, as preparation for the Junior World Cup later this year.
Tickets will provide access to both matches each day and full ticket details will be announced in due course.