England set for hockey's Twenty20

The pitch at the Perth Hockey Stadium, Australia, for the International Super Series Hockey 9s

The England men’s hockey team has arrived in Perth, Australia, ahead of this week’s International Super Series Hockey 9s tournament, the warm up tournament for the forthcoming Champions Trophy in Melbourne. The tournaments will showcase some of the stars of the Olympic Games for the first time since Great Britain finished fourth in London three months ago.

Starting on Thursday 22 November and running until Sunday, the innovative International Super Series Hockey 9s tournament is sure to draw comparisons with cricket’s game changing Twenty20. Now entering its second year, the Australian-devised format features a number of departures from standard hockey designed to add to the spectacle for fans. In a move to offer up even more goal scoring opportunities, the goals have been made one metre wider (see below), prompting England goalkeeper George Pinner to admit he has had to re-think his childhood visions of playing football.

“I suggested recently I should have taken up a football career,” said Pinner. “I felt I’d be quite good. But having moved to these bigger goals in training I’ve been useless. Everything’s been going in!”

While still played on a full sized pitch, teams are reduced to nine players from the usual 11, creating more space for free flowing attacking end-to-end hockey, while matches are played in two 20 minute halves, as opposed to two periods of 35 minutes.

England’s inexperienced squad goes into the tournament as outsiders to Australia, India and Pakistan, all of whom played in the inaugural tournament in 2011.

Speaking as the squad arrived in Australia, England coach Bobby Crutchley said: “We are excited by the challenge of the International Super Series. With the other three teams in the tournament having experienced the 9-a-side format previously it will be a testing start to the trip for our young squad. We will be looking for the players to learn quickly in a demanding environment.”  Crutchley will stand in for Head Coach Jason Lee at the International Super Series Hockey 9s. Lee will fly out to join the squad in Melbourne for the Champions Trophy.

England's players take a break on the 1m larger web goals ahead of the International Super Series Hockey 9s

England will use the four day tournament to acclimatise before heading to Melbourne for the Champions Trophy, which runs from 1-9 December. England’s squad contains six uncapped players and a further five that have played fewer than ten senior international matches. Five of the Great Britain Olympic squad which finished fourth at the London 2012 Games make the trip; captain Barry Middleton, Beeston’s Harry Martin, Hampstead & Westminster’s Dan Fox and the Royal Racing Club de Bruxelles pair of Richard Smith and Nick Catlin will bring their experience to the group.  No caps will be awarded to athletes competing in the International Super Series Hockey 9s.

Following the conclusion of the Super 9s tournament, England will compete in the Champions Trophy in Melbourne from 1-9 December. England’s Pool A opponents are Olympic Champions Germany, New Zealand and India. Hosts Australia, Olympic silver medallists the Netherlands, Belgium and Pakistan will contest Pool B. 

International Super Series Hockey 9s Fixtures, 22-25 November, Perth (AUS)

Thursday 22 November
19:20 local - 11:20 GMT - Australia v Pakistan
20:15 local - 12:15 GMT - England v India
Friday 23 November
19:20 local - 11:20 GMT - Pakistan v England
20:15 local - 12:15 GMT - Australia v India
Saturday 24 November
11:20 local - 03:20 GMT - Pakistan v India
14:05 local - 06:05 GMT - Australia v England
Sunday 25 November
11:40 local - 03:40 GMT - 3rd v 4th
14:00 local - 06:00 GMT - 1st v 2nd

Following England at the International Super Series Hockey 9s

There is no television coverage or internet streaming of the event in the UK. The matches will be available to watch after the completion of the tournament on the broadcaster ABC’s website.

England Hockey will report every England match of the Hockey 9s tournament with match reports, video diaries and blogs posted online at www.englandhockey.co.uk and at www.youtube.com/EnglandHockeyTV

Follow the athletes and coaches in Austrlaia on our 'Men's Champs Trophy' Twitter list at https:/twitter.com/EnglandHockey/men-s-champs-trophy