Hockey Fans Given Chance to See England Play India

England Hockey is delighted to confirm that England’s men will take on India in a three match test series from 29 July – 2 August 2009.   The series is organised by England Hockey in partnership with Birmingham City Council and the University of Birmingham, with the matches being staged at the University’s ground where their pitches are currently being resurfaced.

Thanks to the very welcome support of the Council and the University spectators will be able to enjoy the matches from seating and terracing, which will be installed for the matches along with other visitor facilities.  The Indian team will be hosted at the University for the duration of their stay.

England’s opponents are currently ranked 12th in the World after missing out on qualification to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games at the hands of Great Britain.  They have recently competed in the Asian Cup, where they finished fifth.

Martin Jones in action for England against India during a 2006 World Cup match in Monchengladbach, Germany, 7 September 2006.  England won 3-2.Speaking as the fixtures were announced, England Head Coach Jason Lee described his affection for the opposition.  “It is a great pleasure to host a country with such a golden history in our sport as India,” he said.  “I know they will be warmly welcomed and will have a lot of support at the matches.  Without doubt the impact on both countries of Great Britain’s victory over India in last year’s Olympic Qualifier was significant.  I had a real sense of sympathy for India on their failure to qualify for the Beijing Olympics.  World hockey would be much stronger if India was to regain some of its former glory.  I believe we all hope that they will become strong again.

“I would like to thank India for agreeing to this series of fixtures and to extend my gratitude to Birmingham City Council and the University for their support in what I am sure will be an entertaining set of matches.”

Lee’s men, who are currently ranked seventh in the World, last met India in a competitive game during the 2007 BDO Champions Challenge in Boom, Belgium.  On that occasion India emerged victorious, winning the match 4-3 and with it the bronze medal.

Birmingham City Council has been a great supporter of hockey at all levels of the game from grass roots through to the elite and their support was instrumental in the move to the National Indoor Arena of hockey’s Indoor Finals in 2006. 

Cabinet Member for Leisure, Sport and Culture, Councillor Martin Mullaney, said: “Birmingham City Council is delighted to be supporting the hockey test series between England and India.  These matches will provide a great opportunity for local people to see international hockey on their doorsteps and  also  provide  us with an excellent chance to profile the city and its superb  facilities  to  the  Indian  hockey  team  ahead of the London 2012 Olympics.”

On the pitch, the University of Birmingham has a proud hockey tradition stretching back to the early 1990s when they hosted the Men’s and Women’s European Cup Winners Cup in 1993 followed by a season of Men’s National League games televised on Sky Sports.

Simon Mantell shoots at goal during England's 2006 World Cup match against India in Monchengladbach, Germany. England won 3-2 on 7 September 2006.Among the players hoping to be part of the squad to face India is University of Birmingham alumnus and Beijing Olympian Simon Mantell, who, if selected, will be returning to play at the campus for the first time since graduating in 2007.

In recent years the University has hosted a number of domestic finals and has recently enjoyed success with their women’s team earning promotion to the England Hockey League Premier Division for 2009-10.  The University is also part of the consortium of universities that makes up England Hockey’s West Midlands National Performance Centre, providing top quality coaching and support to some of the country’s top hockey players aged 18-23 as an integral component in England Hockey’s Single System.

Zena Wooldridge, Director of Sport at University of Birmingham, believes the test series fits nicely into the University’s wider strategy: “The University is delighted to be hosting India and the test series with England, in partnership with England Hockey and Birmingham City Council.  Hockey is one of the University’s priority sports and India is an important and growing market for international recruitment to the University.  This event is a perfect combination of factors for the University and we look forward to welcoming the India and England teams and their supporters from across the City and Region.”

Tickets for the three matches are on sale from the England Hockey website at www.englandhockey.co.uk/india.

Fixtures

Date Fixture Time Venue
Wednesday 29 July 2009 England (m) v India 1830hrs University of Birmingham
Friday 31 July 2009 England (m) v India 1830hrs University of Birmingham
Sunday 2 August 2009 England (m) v India 1100hrs University of Birmingham