Goalkeeper Tim Pollard and attacker Chrissie Helmholt-Kneisel have both been selected for their respective national squads and will travel to Barcelona later this year. Pollard will take to the field for England’s over-75s men at the prestigious Real Club de Polo in June, before Helmholt-Kneisel travels to Spanish Club Egara with the O40s women’s squad.
While the Masters World Cup has been a regular feature for Pollard in recent years – he’ll be attending the event for the seventh time – for Helmholt-Kneisel it will be an entirely novel experience. Both, however, represented the nation in European Masters competition last summer.
‘I can’t wait,’ said Helmholt-Kneisel, who was advised of her selection last week.
‘There were some really good players at the trials this year so I didn’t think I’d get in. But I played really well at the final trial and did well in the fitness so I’m pleased to have been included.’
And, having finished third at the European Masters Championship last August, Helmholt-Kneisel is hopeful her England side can mix it alongside the very best nations in Spain.
‘We could beat Germany,’ she said of the European champions. ‘We lost to them on penalty shuffles last year but we had eight short corners in the last five minutes. Holland will also be tough because they play a different style of hockey but anything is possible.’
An experienced Masters World Cup goalkeeper, Pollard, who has represented both Scotland and England at the event, is as excited as ever to be pulling on the England goalkeeper smock.
‘It is always an honour, it’s always special,’ he explained. ‘I’ve been with Scotland in the past and it makes it very difficult because they only have a small pool of players. Going with England means we are much better off.
‘We won the European Cup last summer but it wasn’t too difficult … this will be much more challenging. Having said that I think we’ll have a fairly good chance. We have two or three new forwards who have just come up to the age group; that should help us. Australia will probably be the toughest opposition.’
Pollard will contest the Grand Masters World Cup from 20 June until 30 June, before Helmholt-Kneisel travels to the Masters World Cup from 27 July to 5 August.