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Sudbury Hockey Club president Tim Blackburn has eyes on gold at the Masters Hockey World Cup with England Over-60s after bronze with England LX





Having returned from the International Grand Masters Hockey Festival in The Netherlands with a bronze medal, Tim Blackburn is hoping to add some more gold to his collection from the 2024 Masters Hockey World Cup.

It comes as the president of Sudbury Hockey Club has begun training for the prestigious competition to be held in Auckland, New Zealand in November after gaining selection for the England Men’s Over-60s team in April.

It was less than two years ago, in October 2022, that he picked up a World Cup winners’ medal with the Over-55s in South Africa, but he is now looking to do it again with the higher age bracket side, in the year he turns 60.

Tim Blackburn won a bronze medal at the International Grand Masters Hockey Festival 2024 Picture: Contributed
Tim Blackburn won a bronze medal at the International Grand Masters Hockey Festival 2024 Picture: Contributed

“Very much so,” said the Long Melford resident, “we’ve already started our fitness instructions and we’ve already had one training match, against Australia at Oxford and beat them.

“We have got a really good squad and got high hopes with expectations to compete for that gold medal.”

The latest international medal for Blackburn, who has played for various Sudbury sides across 43 years and now turns out for the men’s IIs as well as coaching and umpiring, came at Hockey Club Klein Zwitserland in the Hague for England LX Men’s Over-60s. The event held at the end of last month saw up to 53 teams from all over the world, comprising some 900 players, going up against each other in masters age groups.

Sudbury Hockey Club president Tim Blackburn won bronze with the England LX side at the International Grand Masters Hockey Festival 2024 Picture: Contributed
Sudbury Hockey Club president Tim Blackburn won bronze with the England LX side at the International Grand Masters Hockey Festival 2024 Picture: Contributed

Pitting the equivalent of international B sides against each other in two groups of six, England won four of their opening matches, against Spain (1-0), The Netherlands (3-2), Canada (3-0) and Wales (2-1).

It meant a win in their final group matches, against Australia, would put them into the gold medal match. But Blackburn’s side were caught out pushing forward with a controversial breakaway goal seeing them lose 1-0.

In the ensuing bronze medal match, against Argentina, Blackburn, who played in a deep lying midfield role, helped his side claim a 1-0 victory for a podium spot.

“We are really pleased as the club had the potential to be really difficult,” he said.

Tim Blackburn of Sudbury Hockey Club in action at the International Grand Masters Hockey Festival 2024 Picture: Contributed
Tim Blackburn of Sudbury Hockey Club in action at the International Grand Masters Hockey Festival 2024 Picture: Contributed

“For me personally the highlight was pitching up against the Australians who had five full internationals playing.”

It was Blackburn’s second competition with the England LX set-up, having come through a team trial in March ahead of playing over in Tilburg in The Netherlands in May.

But he is now looking forward to the new East League season with Sudbury, which starts in September, ahead of travelling out to the Masters World Cup in November.

Of his selection for another Masters World Cup squad, he said: “It means a lot. There is a lot of competition and you have to go to trials every year.”

Likes all masters hockey, the trip will be self-funded with any donations or sponsorship welcome.

Sudbury Hockey Club is currently running social sessions on Friday evenings on the Astro-Turf pitches they play on at Great Cornard Leisure Centre, at Thomas Gainsborough School, from 7.30-9pm, priced at £5 each.