Sunday, 21 October 2018

Sanford to take time out after helping England to Asia cup success

AS he prepares to take a temporary hiatus from the sport, Henley hockey star Liam Sanford

AS he prepares to take a temporary hiatus from the sport, Henley hockey star Liam Sanford admits he will do so having achieved his greatest moment in an England shirt â?? lifting the Sultan of Johor Cup in Malaysia.

The Team Bath Buccaneers player has recently returned from spending two weeks in Asia with the England U21 squad.

And it proved to be a successful trip with former Henley College pupil Sanford and the team going one better than the runners-up spot they managed last year when they beat India 4-3 in a penalty shootout in the final. For Sanford, who played a part in all of his team’s matches, the victory was particularly sweet with the 19-year-old set to put hockey on the back burner for the next few weeks as he starts his training with the RAF next month.

“It was so good to go all the way and win the Johor Cup in Malaysia, for me it’s probably the best achievement I have managed,” he said.

“We started off the tournament well but then had a bit of stutter and we knew we needed to lift our game.

“It was a really close game against India in the final, it was always going to be the odd goal which separated the two sides, and it ended up going down to penalties. I didn’t actually take one, I just let the other lads do the business.

“We lost to them in last year’s tournament so it was good to come back and finally get the win this time. We were all buzzing afterwards.”

For now, Sanford will turn his attention to the next few weeks with Team Bath Buccaneers before starting his RAF training.

And while insisting it’s not the end of his hockey career, Sanford admits the RAF would be taking priority for the time being. “I start my training on November 11 and I have 10 weeks’ basic training before another 12 weeks’ training to become a flight operations assistant so I’m going to be quite busy,” he added.

“Joining the RAF is something I’ve wanted to do for a while so I’m really excited. I’ve got my last game for Bath on November 8 so I’m hoping I can go out with a victory and maybe a goal, I’ve only scored one so far this season.

“The coaches have all been really good, and maybe when I get some spare time I can play a few games although for the first block of training, my focus will be on the RAF as I have to put my career first.”

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