Guernsey Press

LISTEN: New coach brings insight on opposition ahead of national cup opener

Guernsey Hockey’s men have a fresh outlook as they embark on a new EH Men’s Tier Two Championship campaign this weekend.

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Guernsey’s men reached the last four of the competition last season. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 32679193)

Andy Good has brought in his fellow Old Elizabethan Ed Benfield, who has recently returned to Guernsey after two decades teaching in England, to work alongside him in a dual-coaching capacity and the former Island cricketer jumped at the chance to get involved.

‘Guernsey sport was always really close to me and I really wanted to get back involved as soon as I got back to the island, so Goody approached me about helping out with the hockey coaching, and it sort of snowballed from there,’ said Benfield.

‘I’m really enjoying it. After playing in the UK for 20 years for Coventry & North Warwickshire Hockey Club and and coaching quite a lot with that as well, I really wanted to keep that going.

‘I’ve also been a director of sport for the last 20 years at two independent schools in the UK, so also wanted to come back and, having a change of career here, wanted to keep my hand in coaching a little bit as well, so this was a perfect way of doing that.’

Good believes having a new face impart ideas on the Island squad has already proved beneficial.

  • Listen to a full interview with Andy Good and Ed Benfield on this week's Guernsey Press Sport Podcast

‘It’s been, I wouldn’t say stale, but kind of the same faces, the same messages over and over and actually having someone from a different environment is a good thing for a team that’s been fairly stable over a number of years,’ he said.

Benfield’s knowledge of hockey in the Midlands will prove invaluable, too, as Guernsey get their national knockout campaign under way at home to Hampton In Arden on Sunday, 12.30pm start.

‘Hampton Hockey Club – I’ve played most of my career against them. A lot of my old pals play for them still, so it’s a team that I know pretty well,’ he said.

‘In some ways it was a little bit disappointing that I was playing a team that I’ve known for the last 20 years, but in other ways it’s good. It’ll be good for the Island team for someone to have that insight into their their style of play and their players in particular.

‘So we’ve got a good idea of how we’re going to play against them.’

The first squad named by the coaching duo contains a couple of new faces, too, with youngsters Dan Cameron, George Le Roux and Henry Meadows making the cut as well as newcomer James Ball.

‘There’s some really, really good talent out there,’ said Benfield.

‘There’s a real age range, so there’s no sort of gaps in the ages of the people that are playing.

‘There’s some really, really talented youngsters coming through right from 15, 16 years old.’

Guernsey squad

Tom Judd, Alex Bushell, Tom Still, Dan Cameron, Jonny Clark (captain), Sam Watson, Zak Damarell, Matt Stokes, Tom Cashin, James Ball, Sam Dawes, Josh Kendal, George Le Roux, Sean Donaldson, Henry Meadows