Jo gets England hockey World Cup call-up

Wharfedale Observer: Jo Ellis Jo Ellis

LOCAL hockey player Joanne Ellis has received a call up for the England women's hockey squad to play in the World Cup in Madrid.

The Yeadon-based 22 year-old is Yorkshire's only representative in the national squad making the trip to Spain.

It has been a long hard road for former Guiseley School pupil Joanne who has determindley put in hours of work on her fitness and skills to reach the top level.

Joanne started playing hockey with the Ben Rhydding club whilst still a pupil at Guiseley School.

She later went on to sixth form at Benton Park School at Rawdon and at the age of 18 made the switch from the Ben Rhydding club to Doncater.

Jo said: "Doncaster were in the National Premier League and that was a step up from Ben Rhydding. I needed to play in the highest league."

Jo will, travel to Madrid tomorrow, Friday, for a special training camp and will then return for the ten day tournament which starts on September 27.

The World Cup consists of two groups of five teams with the top two teams in each group going through to the semi-finals.

England have been drawn in a group which also includes China, Germany Holland and Spain.

Jo is delighted with her call up and said: "I was really pleased to get picked in the England squad. I had scored my first England goal in the friendly game against Germany which England won 2-1 and then our coach Danny Kerry broke the news to me that I had been selected for the World Cup squad.

"I only came into the system at about Christmas time last year so everything has happened really fast. All the hard work I have put in over the years has really paid off."

Jo, a forward, has previously represented England at U-18 and U-21 levels. She travelled to South Africa with the U-21s and to Holland with the U-18s.

Jo says the biggest influence on her hockey career has been her family and the girls at Ben Rhydding Hockey Club and the girls at Doncaster as well as the Doncaster coach Alan Stoves.

Jo's mother Sundy and sister Raine also play hockey with the Ben Rhydding club and they will be in Spain to support her.

Jo is shortly to start a Sports Performance Coaching course at Leeds Metropolitan University.

Jo said of her elevation to the World Cup squad: "It is a real surprise, I am amazed that I have got in as I only got my first cap in June."

Ben Rhydding Ladies coach Pam Gibson has watched Jo progress through the ranks, gain national selection at a young age when not quite ready for it and is pleased that her young protegee has got another chance.

"Jo was a junior member at Ben Rhydding and came up through the ranks before leaving to play National League at Doncaster.

"She was nurtured at Ben Rhydding and moved along the teams at the right time. It is very improtant to handle youngsters carefully.

"She was coached at Ben Rhydding until she reached the level she is playing at now, she is a fantastic goalscorer and we are delighted at her success.

"She played for the England B team at a very young age, I went to see her play at Milton Keynes, and I think she lost her way a bit. She has worked really hard and it a great credit to her that she has worked her way back to getting back into the England set up.

"Her fitness and maturity have improved and she is much more confident now.

"To make a comeback and make it into the senior England team is quite an achievement, everyone at Ben Rhydding Hockey Club is proud of her.

"I feel she now has the confidence and maturity to sit well in the England set up, she has done fantastically well.

"It is very hard to get a second chance and play so well that they have to look at you again. She was top league scorer last season and she just forced them to take another look at her.

"I feel she is much more able to cope now, I wish her all the luck in the world. We take great pleasure in the fact that she has progressed through our club.

"She is a very loyal girl and I personally hope that at some stage she returns to us. She is a qualified coach and gives a lot back to the game."

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