Maher’s Grand Masters Gold
England Great Grand Masters hockey team goalkeeper Paddy Maher of Ottery st Mary, was part of the World Cup winning team in Oxford recently.
Maher, who now has two World Cup gold medals to add to his European Cup gold and silver, defended against Germany in the final, where England’s superior fitness saw them through.
He said: “We have been training since the end of May and didn’t lose a game throughout the tournament. It was such a relief to win after training so hard.”
Great Grand Masters are over 65 years old, the bandings each being five years in international competition. In national competition, Maher can still turn out for the Over-40s, and he is looking forward to turning out for the newly-merged Sidmouth and Ottery Hockey Club should he be fortunate enough to be selected.
The England XI competitions are now over but he has a couple of national matches to play in this year before selection trials start again in the spring for the England squad.
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He said: “I will see everyone in LX Club games but in the Royal Navy v Portsmouth match and the other nationals it will be a chance to say goodbye to some players.
“Because of the banding there are about five or six new players a year and the same number move on so it will be the last time we play together as a team.”
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“The world cup was quite tiring - there are a lot of civic engagements going on during the fortnight and turning out for 7.30am training was hard!
“ We had struggled against Germany in an earlier pool match but beat them more easily in the final.
“It was great to win. We didn’t get to play on the Olympic pitch as it was turned into a football pitch for the paralympics, which is why the world cup was held in Oxford. I have played on the Athens Olympics pitch in the World Mentors match where we won gold but in London, I went up to watch the warm up matches a couple of weeks before the Olympics started.”