HOCKEY: Former Cookstown star David Ames in GB squad

David Ames
David Ames

Former Cookstown and Irish hockey international David Ames will face his former country Ireland in this month’s World League semi-final after being selected to make his Great Britain tournament debut.

The 25-year-old spent the last three years in the international wilderness after declaring his intention to switch allegiance and having completed the necessary qualifying period he finally turned out for GB in two matches against Argentina three weeks ago.

The Beeston midfielder has now been named in Bobby Crutchley’s 18-strong party - which includes Iain Lewers and Mark Gleghorn who made a similar switch a few years ago - for the trip to Antwerp for the World League.

The tournament, where Ames will come up against his former Irish team-mates, offers the first chance of Olympic qualification.

“David’s trained with us for a while so he’s settled in nicely,” said Crutchley.

“He’s rarely flustered so he’s been very impressive in that respect but it’ll be a big tournament for him.

“He’s a quality player and it certainly makes us stronger having him in the squad.”

Ames is one of four changes to the squad which finished seventh in December’s Champions Trophy, with fellow Beeston club-mate Harry Martin, Wimbledon goalkeeper James Bailey and Reading’s Dan Shingles all returning.

There are six Olympic qualification places up for grabs via the World League, which concludes in November, so a top-three place in Belgium is GB’s top priority.

“You try to ignore it but you can’t because Olympic qualification is so important,” added Crutchley.

“This tournament is massive for us because the Europeans (which England host in August) will be such a difficult competition to win.

“You can’t really rely on your continental championships (to qualify) so we’ve faced up to the fact that there’ll be pressure especially in the quarter-finals.

“If we can win that we are almost certain to be in the Olympics. If we don’t, we have a big task to find a way through.”

Squad: Pinner (GK) Catlin, Fox, Lewers, Middleton, (all Holcombe); Bailey (GK), Brogdon, Hoare, Weir (all Wimbledon); Ames, Dixon, Martin, Ward (all Beeston); Gleghorne, Griffiths, Condon, Jackson (all E Grinstead); Shingles (Reading).