Kate Richardson-Walsh: 350 not out

Kate Richardson-Walsh on the Road to Rio

1999 was a significant year for Great Britain Hockey and for Kate Richardson-Walsh. It was the year the captain made her first international appearance.
Back then no one could have predicted the long and storied international career the Reading defender would go on to have. Tonight, another chapter of that story is written as she reaches a very significant milestone by making her 350th international appearance against China.

Since that memorable day back in May 1999, Richardson-Walsh has played at every major international hockey tournament there is. She has battled through the lows and led her team through plenty of memorable highs, including captaining her side to a European Championships gold medal this past summer in front of a fanatical home crowd in London.

London was also the site of one of her most high profile triumphs as Richardson-Walsh, competing in her third Olympics suffered a broken jaw in the opening game against Japan, only to return to the fray to lead her side to a bronze medal.

Glasgow 2014 marked her fourth Commonwealth Games, where she was also selected to be Team England's flag bearer for the closing ceremony. England came agonisingly close to claiming gold, but lost out to Australia in the final seven seconds in the Commonwealth Games Final. Across a 15 year career Richardson-Walsh has won European, World, Commonwealth and Olympic medals as well as being awarded an MBE for services to hockey. Her roll of honour stands up to anyone in the sporting world and has earned her the acclaim of people in and out of hockey.

KRW lifts the Euros trophy

Richardson-Walsh has captained the England and Great Britain teams since 2003 and led them through a period of success on the world stage. In the current sporting climate, it is an achievement that is rivalled by very few. Her no-nonsense, never say die attitude as well as her almost telepathic ability to read what an attacker is about to do has made her a thorn in the side of many a striker over the years and has led to Richardson-Walsh becoming a household sporting name as well as a player synonymous with this Great Britain side. Head Coach Danny Kerry once said of his captain:

“I’ve worked with Kate directly for over 10 years and she upholds all the values of our sport and is a truly inspiring character to be around both on and off the pitch.”

She certainly is. And as she collects cap number 350 tonight, there will be plenty who can recount a tale of being inspired by the GB No11.

Great Britain Hockey would like to congratulate Kate Richardson-Walsh on her fantastic achievement and look forward to many more appearances to come!