Becky Ward retires from worldwide hockey
After 179 caps for Scotland and 14 years enjoying within the senior girls’s squad, Becky Ward has retired from worldwide hockey.
Throughout an amazing worldwide profession Becky has represented Scotland at three Commonwealth Video games, a number of EuroHockey and FIH tournaments, and been a key a part of Scotland girls’s programme.
Becky mentioned, “I’ve given my all and it’s my time to name it a day. I’ve performed for Scotland for 18 years, 14 years as a senior, it’s been an honour and a privilege to play for therefore a few years and for that I’m grateful. I’m getting married later this yr and I’m actually trying ahead to spending extra time with household and buddies.
“The squad is heading in a incredible path, and I’m unhappy to be leaving the journey right now, nevertheless it’s the correct time for me. Chris Duncan and Vikki Bunce have been nice to work with and the crew is progressing very well. I’ll undoubtedly be cheering them on at each alternative.”
Becky made her Scotland debut in opposition to Belgium in February 2008. “I keep in mind it was very chilly and I used to be ready to get on. The very first thing I did in a Scotland shirt was fall flat on my face! I keep in mind it was a facet line ball and by some means I managed to fall over.
“I’d already been away with Scotland to play indoor in Vienna in 2007. The squad signed a poster for me on that journey, and I nonetheless have it on my wall. However when it got here to enjoying with the out of doors crew I keep in mind actually feeling like a teen – it was an enormous expertise for me.”
The expertise proved to be an vital constructing block in Becky’s improvement and earlier than lengthy she was chosen to play in a significant event for Scotland.
Becky’s first large event expertise got here in 2009 within the EuroHockey A Division, with a visit to the fabled Wagener Stadium. Ward mentioned, “I keep in mind the stadium, and it was totally different then. I’ve performed within the Wagener Stadium fairly a couple of instances in my profession, and today it has a stunning large fashionable stand, however again then it was fairly old skool with wood seats.”
Quick ahead to 2014, which was an enormous yr for Becky with the construct as much as Glasgow 2014 together with take a look at sequence’ in opposition to South Africa, Eire, and Spain; as effectively the London Cup and Champions Problem tournaments.
Becky’s solely aim for Scotland got here in 2014 in opposition to India in a 4-0 victory on the Champions Problem in Glasgow forward of the Commonwealth Video games. Becky defined, “It was a penalty nook. It’s fairly humorous as I used to be usually the trapper, and after the huddle on the high of the D I realised Emily Maguire was within the trapper place. So I made a decision I’d run to the put up, simply to remain out the way in which, however the ball simply fell to me and I put it in. I feel I used to be the happiest particular person on the planet at that second!”
Glasgow 2014 was the primary of three Commonwealth Video games appearances for Becky and was a particular expertise. The Glasgow Nationwide Hockey Centre was constructed for the Video games at Glasgow Inexperienced and preparation for the event was an thrilling time. “The nation was buzzing and I keep in mind being so excited. Seeing Glasgow Inexperienced for the primary time with the stands up is a reminiscence that basically stands out, every little thing was new and we have been all simply raring to go.
“I additionally keep in mind after we have been in that full time coaching block earlier than the video games, the travelling women from Dundee and Edinburgh just about lived in a resort in Glasgow. All the women who labored within the eating corridor used to present us hugs after we returned from our days off again dwelling as a result of we had been staying there so lengthy. Simply from the build-up you simply knew it was going to be good.
“The matches have been so noisy and it was superb having all our family and friends there. The ambiance was nice; the village was nice; and mixing with all the opposite athletes was nice too.”
4 years later when Gold Coast got here round Becky was cemented as one of many senior gamers within the squad, and a part of the crew’s management group with Kaz Cuthbert and Bex Condie. The management function was one which Becky embraced and loved. She mentioned, “For Gold Coast I had added accountability for positive. We wished to go there and enhance on Glasgow – it wasn’t nearly competing, we wished to do higher. A few of the video games have been so shut, which was good and unhealthy. On one hand it felt like we have been getting someplace, but in addition we’d put in a lot and obtained so shut however not all the outcomes we wished.
“Off the pitch although Gold Coast was particular for various causes. It’s essentially the most I’ve ever felt a part of Group Scotland, in all probability as a result of we have been all on the opposite facet of the world. Being so removed from dwelling appeared to make Group Scotland extra collectively than ever.
“Birmingham 2022 was much like Gold Coast in that we got here so shut once more. It’s nonetheless contemporary in my thoughts clearly, however the crowd was superb – there have been so many saltires within the stand.”
Becky has been a stalwart for Scotland and represented the nation at EuroHockey and FIH competitions in 2011 in Poznan; 2015 in London; 2017 in Valencia, Brussels and Amsterdam; 2019 in Glasgow and Banbridge; and 2021 in Amsterdam and Pisa.
Certainly one of her greatest recollections of enjoying in a Scotland shirt was the EuroHockey Championship II, held in Glasgow in 2019. Scotland gained gold on the jam-packed event with a 100% report. The success in 2019 not solely secured the Scots a gold medal, however gained them promotion again to the highest tier of European hockey.
Becky mentioned, “2019 was nice, to go and win each sport was simply superb. We’d had so many shut video games with Italy, and fell quick, so to beat them within the remaining in Glasgow was like a turning level. We’ve beat them once more since and it felt like we obtained that monkey off our again in 2019.
“I loved the 2015 A Division as effectively. We had some tight video games in opposition to Belgium, Germany and England. Once we scored first, in opposition to England in our first sport, it was sensible. The aim was a nook and we’d labored on it for therefore lengthy, so for Kaz to attain it was such an excellent second. A lot of the different groups have been just about full time hockey gamers however there we have been displaying them that we might compete. Taking part in in opposition to these world class gamers was what I thrived on.”
Scotland girls’s Head Coach Chris Duncan additionally highlighted Becky’s achievements and contribution to the Scotland crew. He mentioned, “Becky has been a standout inside the nationwide programme over the course of a 14 yr and 179 cap profession. She has been a frontrunner along with her efficiency ranges, her perspective in the direction of coaching, and her tutelage and help for these round her.
“Becky has effectively and actually had an impressive worldwide profession spanning three Commonwealth Video games, a number of European Championships and has had a major affect on the event of the squad alongside being a constantly world class performer.
“Throughout the programme we communicate in regards to the focus being ‘individuals first’. We’ve got athletes who mix a number of commitments at dwelling, at work, inside additional training and extra, while additionally balancing the calls for of worldwide sport. Becky has been a normal setter inside all of those areas and we are going to miss her.”
When you’ve gotten an unimaginable profession like Becky’s there are such a lot of individuals to thank for his or her contributions and help down the years. Becky mentioned, “I need to say thanks to Dundee Wanderers, I began on the membership after I was eight years previous and so they actually nurtured me and gave me superb help down the years. Ben and Marlyn Gibson specifically have been nice for me, I name them my hockey dad and mom, and I’d prefer to thank them for all their help.
“An enormous thanks to all my household and buddies, and a large thanks to John and my dad and mom, June and Steve, who’ve been there via all of the highs and lows – they’ve picked me up so many instances and I’d by no means be the place I’m with out them.
“Because of my employer, The Excessive Faculty of Glasgow, for all of the superb help to permit me to go and play hockey for Scotland. Because of my present membership, Western Wildcats who’ve been nice over the previous few years as effectively.
“I’d prefer to thank all my crew mates and coaches down the years; all of the gamers who I performed with on the journey. It’s been an incredible expertise and I’ve so many fond recollections to look again on.”
An enormous congratulations from all at Scottish Hockey to Becky Ward on a incredible Scotland profession.
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