World Cup call-up for hot-shot Ellie

Former Matlock Baileans star and Highfields School pupil Ellie Watton has been selected to play for England in the upcoming World Cup in Holland.

Ellie, 24, currently lives and works in Oakham, Rutland, but hails from the Matlock area and was a regular for Baileans in her youth.

The PE teacher now captains National Premier League club Beeston and will play in the Rabobank-sponsored tournament in the Hague next month.

Ellie said: “Playing for England is something I never thought would happen for me.

“Having trialled as a junior and never been selected to play at under-18 or under-21 international level, I thought my chance had gone.”

But a relentless pursuit for improvement has earned her the prize she always wanted; playing for her country in a world class tournament and the chance of winning a gold medal.

She added: “To get my first caps and a medal in South Africa in February last year was quite emotional and a dream come true, but I’m now striving for bigger and better things.

“I’ve been to a lot of places with England and GB already. One of the nicer trips was to San Diego for a training camp in February. That was a really good team-building experience and it’s when I really started to feel comfortable with the intensity of playing at this level.”

“Combining my life as a teacher with the demands of being an international hockey player has been quite a challenge. I’ve been very fortunate to be allowed to take time off school to train and to play, but things will become much easier when I become a full-time athlete and base myself closer to Bisham Abbey in September.”

The World Cup will be broadcast live on Sky Sports with England’s first match against the USA on Sunday, June 1 at noon.