Oakham sports teacher Ellie Watton has been selected to represent England at the Hockey World Cup starting on May 31.
Ellie Watton, 24, who teaches at Oakham School, has been included in England Women’s head coach Jason Lee’s 18-woman squad to travel out to The Hague in the Netherlands for the Rabobank Hockey World Cup.
And Watton, who lives in Oakham, is making her mark on the England team, scoring this week in the side’s 3-0 victory over Belgium as they warm-up for the main event.
The England squad remains largely unchanged from that which won a silver and bronze medal during 2013 at the European Championships and World League Final respectively.
However Lee has named two relative newcomers in his 18, including Watton and Buckingham’s Zoe Shipperley.
Attacker Watton, who plays for Beeston, made her debut at the Investec Challenge in 2013 against South Africa and has since earned 11 international caps for England and Great Britain. Speaking about her selection, Lee said: “Ellie has been part-time in the squad since April 2013, whilst holding down a full-time teaching job at Oakham School and the progress she has made is remarkable. She is very much a team player and provides good link-up play with a good eye for goal.”
Watton said: “I am obviously extremely pleased to have been selected and very proud to be representing my county in such a big tournament. I have worked very hard over the past year since starting the programme and it has paid off.
“I am really looking forward to the World Cup, it is one of the biggest tournaments in the hockey playing calendar, behind the Olympics, so there will be a much bigger crowd than I am used to. I am very excited to be playing some of the best teams in the world and just hope that I can play to my best for the team.”
Watton will finish her teaching job at Oakham in July to become a full-time athlete.
England are in Pool B with Argentina, China, Germany, South Africa and the USA.
Of the six teams in the pool, England (3) is the second-highest ranked in the FIH World Rankings after Argentina (2), while the rest of the sides are sixth or lower.
On paper, Argentina will be the biggest challenge and, having won the previous World Cup in Rosario in 2010, they’ll have their sights set on a repeat performance.
All of England’s World Cup matches will be shown live on Sky; the first game will be against the USA at midday on Sunday, June 1.
Before the competition, England play in the Four Nations competition in Bremen, Germany, facing Australia, Japan and Germany in warm up matches.