Tring Hockey Club’s Ian Styles was a key player in the England Masters Over 55 team as they successfully retained the Home International Cup for the 10th year running.
The all-conquering English side beat hosts Ireland 4-1 in their opening game, before seeing off Scotland 2-0 and thrashing Wales 7-1 to complete the clean sweep.
Tring players Steve Warr and Gary Arthurs were representing Wales, but they were powerless to prevent Styles and the England squad from romping to the title.
And Styles, who works as a director at EIC Insurance Services in Hemel Hempstead, says it was a case of ‘job done’ for the England team.
“We felt it was crucial to defend our unbeaten record for the last 10 years and the whole squad had many training sessions beforehand to try to ensure that this happened,” he said.
“After beating the Irish, along came the most competitive country, Scotland, who always play like twice the number of men against England and are desperate to beat us.
“They were difficult to break down but actually only had half a dozen chances themselves. This is always the best game to play in – hard on the pitch, but beers all together in the bar afterwards.
“We completed the tournament by beating the Wales team 7-1 on Sunday., It was just as satisfying as the first time we won; for me that’s my fourth Home Nations win and it is always good to get the bragging rights for next year.”
Styles and the rest of the England team will now be training toward’s next years tournaments, which include the Home Internationals in early June and the European Cup in London in August.
These tournaments will provide good practice for England, with the big one – the World Cup – taking place in Australia in 2016.