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7 September 2009 | PR 09/116

Loughborough graduate captains England to Euro glory

Barry Middleton raises the Championship trophy.

Barry Middleton raises the Championship trophy. Richard Smith is pictured second from left.

(Hockeyimages.co.uk / England Hockey)

Loughborough graduate Barry Middleton led his England side to its first ever European title at the EuroHockey Nations Championship final with a 5-3 win over Germany in Amstelveen last weekend.

Captain Middleton, who completed a degree in sports science last summer, was joined by student Richard Smith (maths and sports science) and fellow graduates Glenn Kirkham, Richard Alexander, Iain Mackay and former player Ali Wilson for the historic match played out in front of a packed crowd at Holland’s Wagener Stadium.

Middleton provided one of England’s five scores as they outperformed Germany, overturning a one-point deficit after the break to lead by two clear points at the final whistle.

The result was an improvement on the 4-4 draw against the Germans in the group stages, but having secured high scoring wins over Austria (5-0) and Belgium (8-2) England finished top of Pool A on points difference.

The semi final against hosts the Netherlands went to extra time with England edging the lead to win 2-1. England hit the net an impressive 22 times during their five-match campaign, conceding just eight goals.  

Head coach and Loughborough graduate Jason Lee put England’s success down to their ability to learn quickly. 

“We learned from what we did poorly against the Netherlands in the semi final and corrected those things for today when I thought we played much better,” he said.

“I’m quite a pessimistic person by nature but I really thought we deserved to win it. The crucial part of the game was the start of the second half when we struggled a bit but we made some changes and started to take the game away from Germany.”

In the women’s competition three Loughborough students were part of England’s bronze-winning team, beating Spain 2-0 in the final medal play-off.

Laura Unsworth, Katie Long and college student Nicola White featured as England won two of their three group matches – beating Russia (4-0) and Azerbaijan (4-1) but losing 5-0 to hosts Holland. Then in a match that went the opposite way to the men’s semi-final they lost 2-1 to Germany after extra time to reach the bronze medal match for the third consecutive year. 

For match reports and further information log onto http://www.hockey.nl/ek-hockey

−ENDS−

For all media enquiries contact:

Amanda Overend
Sport PR Officer
Loughborough University
T: 01509 228686
E: A.J.Overend@lboro.ac.uk 

Notes for editors:

1. Photo - Barry Middleton raises the Championship trophy. Richard Smith is pictured second from left. CREDIT: hockeyimages.co.uk / England Hockey

2. Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry and unrivalled sporting achievement.

It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. In the 2008 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top five universities in the UK, with 22 out of 30 of its subject areas being ranked in the top ten for overall satisfaction. It was named winner of the 2006, 2007 and 2008 Times Higher award for the UK’s Best Student Experience and winner of the 2007 award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes – an achievement bettered by no other institution.

It is a member of the esteemed 1994 Group – a set of internationally recognised, research-intensive universities – and has a reputation for the relevance of its work. Its degree programmes are highly regarded by professional institutions and businesses, and its graduates are consistently targeted by the UK’s top recruiters.

Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

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