Surbiton’s Sarah Haycroft aiming for Team GB international success after unbeaten hockey season

Fresh from winning the Women’s Hockey League for a third consecutive season with Surbiton last month, Sarah Haycroft now has eyes set on an exciting summer ahead.

The Surbiton ladies captain joined the club when she was 10 and has gone on to become the leader within the team and a hugely dependable performer.

Haycroft, 25, is now firmly part of the England and Team GB squad and keen to make her mark internationally with the Champions Trophy and Olympics looming on the horizon.

Haycroft said: “The Champions Trophy is always a great tournament.

“You know every single game is going to be very tough so it’s definitely going to be great preparation for the Olympic Games and it is very exciting that it is going to be in front of a home crowd.”

Under the leadership of captain Kate Richardson-Walsh, British aspirations are high following gold at the EuroHockey Nations Championship last year and bronze at the 2012 London Olympics.

“We take it game by game but essentially we want to win every single tournament and we set that as our target,” said Haycroft.

“It might be a high target but we have to strive for that and we do our best to make sure we can come away with a gold medal.

“London was a fantastic achievement and I think it has acted as a springboard for the sport.

“There is such a buzz around hockey at the moment — so many more girls have got involved.

“If we could do one or two better in Rio and better the girls achievement last time then that would be absolutely fantastic.

“I was there in the crowd in London and playing at the time in the under 21s squad so it was amazing to see the girls play and celebrate them winning that medal.”

The British squad’s great quality is their strength in depth and Haycroft realises the current pool of players have a great understanding of each other’s potential.

“Belief is the definite word – every one of the British girls knows what they are capable of together as a team,” added Haycroft.

“When we look each other in the eye on the pitch everyone knows you are giving 100% and that is something that is so strong.

“On any given day the squad believes that we have the inner strength to beat the likes of Argentina, Netherlands and Australia despite them being such great teams.

“When you get to Olympic Games those are the qualities that get you medals which is so exciting.”

Haycroft and her fellow unbeaten Surbiton internationals will represent the club at the European Club Championships in Netherlands this weekend starting off against UHC Hamburg on Friday.

Haycroft said: “Our main target this year was to qualify again for the tournament which we have done but we thought we underperformed last year.

“We are really looking forward to going out there and giving it 100% and improving on last year.”

Rightfully the women’s hockey side have been recognised for their successes over recent years emphasising the growing popularity for the sport.

Haycroft said: “We have won so many awards this year which is amazing.

“We were even recognised ahead of the England women’s football team and I think their achievements have been fantastic.

“It’s just so great that two women’s sports teams are being recognised so highly.

“It’s a fantastic time for female sport.”

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