Lewers and Hinch scoop Hockey Writers' Prizes

Maddie Hinch and Iain Lewers HWC Winners 2015

THE Hockey Writers’ Club is proud to announce that the 2015 players of the year are England and Great Britain goalkeeper Maddie Hinch and England and GB defender Iain Lewers, who both play for Kent club Holcombe.

The awards were made at the Hockey Writers’ Club Annual Awards Presentation Lunch on Wednesday 20th January 2016 at the Royal Thames Yacht Club, Knightsbridge.

The two players also won the Marjorie Pollard and Chris Moore salvers for their performances at the EuroHockey Championships at Lee Valley in the summer.

Hinch won the HWC Women’s Player of the Year, sponsored by Investec. The goalkeeper was ahead of fellow internationals Lily Owsley and Alex Danson, who finished second and third respectively.

Hinch’s glorious moment came in winning a shootout in the Unibet EuroHockey final against the world and Olympic champions Netherlands in front of a home crowd at Lee Valley in the Olympic Park.

England women came from 2-0 down before overcoming the Dutch to win the Championships for the first time since 1991. Hinch was the hero, saving three times in the shootout and making a number of other superb stops.

Hinch said:“It is such a great honour to win both these awards and to be honest I was surprised to hear I had! It has been a fantastic year for us as a squad with a lot of strong individual performances throughout so these awards cap off a pretty surreal 2015 for me. Qualifying for Rio and in the fashion we did it in (unbeaten and conceding only two goals) was a fantastic achievement for us, but the stand out highlight of the year has to be the European Final and beating the Dutch to take the gold medal in front of a home crowd."

“I still get goose bumps thinking about it ! I did unfortunately tear my medial cruciate ligament (MCL) in my right knee during the third shootout. I felt something go in my knee, but with so much adrenaline running through my body I wasn’t aware of what I had done."

"I don’t think the ‘pile on’ after helped much though ! The World League finals recently in Argentina was a good trip for us to try out a few new things and continue our development as a team. Having said this,we went out there to do the best we could, taking each game one at a time, so to finish seventh overall was disappointing. But with the Olympics very much the main focus, there are plenty of important learnings we can take from Argentina on to Rio.”

THE HWC Men’s Player of the Year award, sponsored by Mercian,was won by Lewers for the second year in succession.The defender won a very close vote ahead of Nick Catlin and Dan Fox.

Lewers, of Holcombe, has been an integral part of the squad in the England and Great Britain defence and his performances in the World League in Antwerp where GB qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics, and the European Championships at Lee Valley’s Olympic Park, where England came fourth, has won him the plaudits.

Lewers, who is currently playing for the Delhi Waveriders in the Hockey India League, said the award was “fantastic news” and was “genuinely unexpected”. He added: “I really enjoyed the lunch last year, and found it very humbling that the people who watch international hockey all year round reckon I’m not too bad at it! So to receive it again is a huge honour and I’m delighted.”

”Obviously it was great to qualify for Rio, it was expected of us and, fortunately, it went pretty smoothly without any hiccups. It was disappointing not to reach the final of WL3 as it was our ambition to do so.”

”The Euros as a hockey event was a unique experience to play in London again, with some very encouraging performances, but unfortunately we ultimately came up short when it mattered which was disappointing. Both tournaments can be used to our advantage if we learn about our shortcomings and successfully address them in the coming months.”

HOCKEY WRITERS’CLUB

UK PLAYERS OF THE YEAR

PREVIOUS WINNERS

1983 Margaret Gleghorne Paul Barber
1984 Karen Brown Richard Leman
1985 Linda Carr Sean Kerly MBE
1986 Moira McLeod Ian Taylor
1987 Violet McBride Imran Sherwani
1988 Barbara Hambly OBE Jon Potter
1989 Vickey Dixon David Faulkner
1990 Maggie Souyave Andy Halliday
1991 Joanne Thompson Jason Laslett
1992 Jane Sixsmith MBE Rob Hill
1993 Sandie Lister Julian Halls
1994 Karen Brown Simon Mason
1995 Tammy Miller Ian Jennings MBE
1996 Kathryn Johnson Bobby Crutch;ley
1997 Karen Brown Jon Wyatt
1998 Carolyn Reid David Hacker
1999 Christina Cullen MBE Chris Ashcroft
2000 Jane Sixsmith MBE Mark Pearn
2001 Jane Smith Danny Hall
2002 Leisa King Robert Todd
2003 Kate Walsh Simon Mason
2004 Christina Cullen MBE Barry Middleton
2005 Crista Cullen Jonathan Ebsworth
2006 Crista Cullen James Tindall
2007 Kate Walsh Barry Middleton
2008 Beth Storry Ali McGregor
2009 Helen Richardson Ashley Jackson
2010 Helen Richardson Barry Middleton
2011 Alex Danson Mark Pearn
2012 Kate Walsh Barry Middleton
2013 Maddie Hinch Adam Dixon
2014 Susannah Townsend Iain Lewers

For more information on the UK Players of the Year awards please contact:
Rod Gilmour, Telephone: +44 7779 784 883
rod@gilmourmedia.com

Photo Credit Peter Savage www.hockeyimages.co.uk.