Exeter trio named in elite GB squad


Exeter University’s Kate Axford, Meg Crowson and Katie Knight have been named in the Great Britain women’s ‘Elite Development Programme’ squad set to attend an induction camp later next week.

A total of 36 players have been named and, while the programme is not age-categorised, it has been designed for athletes aged between 19 and 23.

The programme has been launched as part of a strategic objective during the Tokyo 2020 cycle with the aim of developing medal-winning Olympians of the future.

The squad will attend an induction camp at Lilleshall between Tuesday, October 31, and Thursday, November 2, and a training and competition programme will follow in the coming weeks.

Plymouth’s Jon Bleby will take charge of the men’s ‘Elite Development Programme’ and will announce his squad early next month.

 

Devon’s Ollie Payne (now studying at Durham University), Exeter University’s Duncan Scott and Team Bath Buccaneers’ Tim Nurse are included in Great Britain’s under-21 squad for the Sultan of Johor Cup.

Britain, coached by Plymouth’s Jon Bleby, are due to start their Cup campaign against hosts Malaysia today (1.35 pm).

 

It may be starting to get cold outside but the England League Men’s Conference (West) title chase is already hotting up, just over a month into the new season.

University of Exeter topped the table ahead of yesterday’s trip to face the only unbeaten side in the division, Cardiff & Met.

Cardiff were fresh from a 4-2 home win over Fareham at Sofia Gardens but the Devon students are in top form, too, following a big 7-2 round four away derby win over Isca at the water-based, state-of-the-art University of Exeter pitch, that is home for both clubs.

Sam Hooper was the star of the show with a hat-trick for the University and his first two goals put them into 2-1 lead after 37 minutes. Liam Wakefield replied for Isca from a 48th-minute penalty corner to square the match up at 2-2 following Tom Brooks’ ninth-minute opener.

But when James Ferguson fired the students ahead again on 56 minutes it signalled the start of a finishing lesson from the University.

Ed Matts made it 4-2 in the 64th minute and from then on in it was one-way traffic as Hooper completed his hat-trick from a 66th minute penalty corner; Ferguson claimed his second and Tom Watson scored a last-minute seventh for the students.

The margin of victory means University of Exeter – beaten 4-2 in round three at Olton and West Warwicks – top the table on goal difference.

Olton, themselves beaten by Team Bath Buccs in round two, edged to a 2-1 win at Cheltenham.

Bath missed the opportunity to take over at the top when their unbeaten start was ended 4-2 at resurgent University of Birmingham, fresh from their 7-3 win at League new boys Clifton Robinsons.

Step-in Cardiff, who bounced back from their surprise opening day 1-1 home draw with Havant to win at Clifton and then beat Fareham last Sunday.

 

Clifton Robinsons scored a 2-1 comeback England  League Women’s Premier Division win at Canterbury to move up into mid-table.

Sarah Kerly fired the home side ahead after nine minutes but within six minutes Clifton were back on level terms thanks to Elena Emo’s goal from open play.

Hannah Coulson clinched Clifton’s second win of the season from a 49th-minute penalty corner.

Clifton – who were due to play Bowdon yesterday – host Holcombe at Coombe Dingle on Saturday (1.00 pm).

 

Gloucester City are fourth in Women’s Conference (West) after four rounds and an eye-catching goal-less draw at joint leaders Stourport.

City’s stalemate meant that Southampton side Trojans soared to the top of the table with the division’s only 100 per cent record following their fourth straight win, 3-0 at home to Swansea City Spartans.

Team Bath Buccaneers and Isca University will both be seeking an improvement in form in the coming weeks as they started the weekend in the bottom two places in the Conference.

The two side were due to meet in Exeter yesterday.

This article first appeared in the Independent. To get the latest articles when they appear, buy the print edition every Sunday or subscribe to our online edition HERE.