STRATFORD Hockey Club’s Ben Lanoe is celebrating after being named in the England Over-40 Masters’ World Cup squad.
The call-up caps a brilliant few weeks for the Stratford midfielder, who helped Stratford claim the Midlands 2 title last month.
Lanoe will first compete in this month’s Home Nations Tournament in London, before jetting off to Barcelona in July for the Masters’ Hockey World Cup.
The latter event is the world’s largest hockey competition, with more than 200 international teams competing across the men’s and women’s categories from over-35s to over-55s.
“Masters hockey is growing rapidly and the standard of the international sides keeps getting better and better”, said Lanoe.
“To fly the flag for Stratford in a side that is full of the most talented players from the country’s biggest clubs is a tremendous honour and a reflection of the high standards of performance that our club is now achieving.”
Lanoe is quick to thank his two sons, Oliver and Piers, for his selection, saying: “Having represented England at under-21 level and played almost a decade of Premier League hockey, I was ready for some time away from the sport.
“I only returned after taking my sons along to training at Stratford.
“Someone on the side line asked me if I’d ever played hockey — I’ve been in the 1st XI ever since! So, really, I have Oliver and Piers to thank for my England selection.”
Success runs in the family, with Oliver now representing Warwickshire under-13s and Piers being a key player in Stratford under-tens, now ranked as one of the country’s top eight under-ten teams after they reached the final of the recent Regional Championship, narrowly losing out to Repton in the final.
But Lanoe says that familial success is not unusual at Stratford.
He said: “As a club, we have a track record for producing high performance young players, without losing the family feel that makes the club so popular.
“This season alone, we have had two father and son combinations playing for the men’s first XI with Mark and Charlie Leary, and Ed and Sam Grigg both appearing together on match day.”
Leary, who is due to take over first-team skipper duties next season, added: “To experience playing top level hockey with my son Charlie was a moment of great pride for me personally, and of course, a cause for celebration at the club.”