Hockey: Walton chases glory with England and Wakefield

Sally Walton, right. Picture: Ady Kerry
Sally Walton, right. Picture: Ady Kerry

England star and new player-coach at Wakefield Hockey Club Sally Walton is aiming for significant success with both her club and country in the coming weeks.

Walton, 32, was a member of the Great Britain squad that played three capped matches in Germany this week - useful preparation before she hooks up with the England squad that competes in the World League Finals in Argentina from November 30.

Walton, who helped Great Britain to bronze in the London 2012 Olympics, has only just returned to full fitness after suffering ankle ligament damage in the EuroHockey Championships semi-finals during the summer.

However, she is hopeful that England can make an impression on the latter stages of the World League Finals.

She said: “We have not sat down and set out targets as a team yet.

“In a tournament it is important that you take it one game at a time and don’t get ahead of yourself but we won two silver medals during the summer and we should be aiming for the last four.”

Competition is fierce in Argentina with England facing Olympic champions the Netherlands and European champions Germany in their pool.

Walton said: “It is a tough pool but all matches are tough. We have a really good blend of youth and experience in the squad and there is a fearlessness in the younger players.

“We will be giving it 100 per cent and good results and performances will help to build momentum going into the Commonwealth Games and World Cup next year.”

Walton revealed that she has taken positives out of her frustrating time in the treatment room, saying: “The injury proved to me that I still have the hunger and desire to compete.

“Jason Lee [England head coach] has added a freshness to the squad wants the younger players to play freely.

“Competition for places is very strong now and no-one expects to get into the squad but there is a lot of confidence and excitement.”

As well as her international duties, Walton is aiming for success as the new player-coach of Wakefield Ladies 1sts and she has already made a big impact.

Walton scored the winner in Saturday’s top-of-the-table clash at Durham in the Investec Conference North - a result that sent Wakefield soaring to the top of the league.

Walton said: “Working at Wakefield Hockey Club has helped to give me a focus after coming back from injury.

“The club has a great set-up and the players want to go as far as they can. I am pleased with how we are going and we now want to chase the play-offs and promotion to the Premier Division.”