Summer to remember for England Masters manager Andy Taylor

editorial image

Sutton’s England Masters hockey team manager Andy Taylor completed a season to remember with his third medal of the summer as his side finished runners-up to Holland in the Euro Masters at St Albans.

Earlier this year, the former Belper Hockey Club manager and Mansfield Hockey Club player took his England side to Cardiff for the over-40s Home Internationals and came back with gold after three wins from three and also took an England 40s B team up to Edinburgh to compete in the over-35s Masters and gained another silver, missing out on the gold by just one goal scored.

In his third season in the role, Taylor said. “It’s difficult to explain the pride in leading out this bunch of athletes.

“I have had some good summers, but this was a very good one.

“The gold and two silvers we have won have been well deserved and with a little more luck it could have been three golds.

“We are now ranked third in the world and I still have to pinch myself when I see that.

“It’s not a bad achievement for a local lad from Sutton who started his hockey life playing on the grass on Sutton Lawn for Mansfield Hockey Club.”

In the Euro Masters, Taylor led his side the top of their group after victories over Italy (5-0), Wales (a thumping 10-1) and a terrific 3-0 win over Germany, who are currently ranked number four in the world.

The semi-final saw England faced Ireland in a game played in torrential rain.

Just before half-time the game had to be suspended for 20 minutes due to flooding, but upon the restart again it was England that shone through to win 3-1 and set up the final against No.1-ranked side the Netherlands.

The final saw disaster strike for Taylor as following an early Holland goal and a superb reply from an England penalty corner, he lost three key players to injury early on. Holland took advantage and scored three more goals before half-time to put the game beyond England’s reach at 4-1.

Taylor’s side did dominate the second half, but resilient defending saw the Dutch snuff out England’s efforts.

“It was a bit of a crazy final after we lost three players in the first 12 minutes,” said Taylor.

“One did his groin, another his hamstring and the captain took a stick across the knuckles that broke three fingers – not exactly what we wanted. But it was a great tournament.”

Taylor is proud to lead his country which he said was an opportunity that came out of the blue.

“It was just down to a recommendation and it all happened very quickly,” he said.

“I was hosting an England game at Belper, where I used to be their National League manager. It just developed from there.

“They told me they were looking for a manager. They knew of me and my reputation preceded me and they literally approached me on the day. They said they did not intend on interviewing anyone else and by the end of January I was in post as manager and selector.

“It is a fantastic post and they are a fantastic bunch of lads to work with.”

“This is my third season as manager and we are now leading up to the World Cup in Australia in March and the Home Internationals in Edinburgh next August.”