Susannah Townsend: One game at a time

Susannah Townsend in action for England


In the 2013 final in Belgium, we witnessed the archetypal English defeat to Germany by virtue of a shootout meaning England had to settle for a silver medal at the last edition of the Eurohockey Championships. Two years on and with some valuable experiences under their belts, Susannah Townsend is determined to go one better this time around.

“When we got the silver it was a great achievement but the positive here is it’s at home. Coming into a home tournament you have the crowds behind you they are a 12th man and we’d love to get that gold medal in front of them.”

The home tournament is a recurring theme for Townsend and her teammates and gives a real chance for the Canterbury star’s parents, well known for their unstinting support of their daughter, to come and cheer her on in familiar surroundings.

“I’m very lucky to have a supportive family and I think everyone in hockey in this country knows how big hockey fans they are! They come and watch every game and this tournament will be no different. I’m really fortunate to have them supporting me in this way, but I think the hockey family in England as a whole are like that. They love watching hockey and will be out in force I’m sure.”

With talk of a major tournament in England, inevitably the topic turns to the London Olympics in 2012. Townsend was part of the training squad in the lead up to the games but ultimately was not selected for the final 16. Whilst her disappointment is obvious, the now older, wiser Susannah Townsend looks back on the experience as a positive one:

“I was lucky to be involved in the build up to London and it gave me a lot of experience as a young player but I wasn’t ready to go to the Olympics at that stage of my career. There was a lot I needed to work on and at the time I probably didn’t recognised or accept that. Now I’m more integrated in the squad and I feel a lot more confident in my ability. The coaches have helped me a lot it’s made me a better player.”

Townsend with her Euros silver medal in 2013

Undoubtedly, Townsend’s game has improved in the time between her London disappointment and what she hopes will be a successful tournament this time around. Her power and pace are undoubtedly huge assets but the No9 has worked extremely hard on the defensive side of her game, too, ensuring she has become a much more rounded player and a key member of Danny Kerry’s squad. Her style married with the styles of the likes of Sophie Bray, Alex Danson, Shona McCallin and other attacking players in the group ensures England have a strong pool of players to choose from, something Townsend is very aware of:

“The beauty of our system is you have players from the development group pushing to come into the main squad. We have a massive group of players and we’re all competing to get in the tournament squads. Because our group is so competitive it makes the team that gets selected even better, it’s really exciting time for us.”

With Olympic qualification secured at the World League for Great Britain, the mood in the squad is good. Can England win the tournament? Townsend is bullish, with a note of caution, repeating the squad’s age-old mantra of one game at a time:

“We’ve trained really well and had a strong year. We are going to the tournament to win. We are at home, we won silver last time and we want to improve on that. We’re confident going in but we will take it each game as it comes. We have a tough opener against Scotland and we’re only thinking about that. Once we start the tournament we’ll be very much focused on the process involved in winning each game. Hopefully that comes off and gives us the medal we want.”

Want to see Townsend and her team mates taking on the best in Europe? You still can. Tickets are available from www.eurohockey2015.co.uk but be quick, they're going fast!