Becky Ward retires from worldwide hockey
After 179 caps for Scotland and 14 years taking part in within the senior ladies’s squad, Becky Ward has retired from worldwide hockey.
Throughout an amazing worldwide profession Becky has represented Scotland at three Commonwealth Video games, a number of EuroHockey and FIH tournaments, and been a key a part of Scotland ladies’s programme.
Becky mentioned, “I’ve given my all and it’s my time to name it a day. I’ve performed for Scotland for 18 years, 14 years as a senior, it’s been an honour and a privilege to play for therefore a few years and for that I’m grateful. I’m getting married later this yr and I’m actually wanting ahead to spending extra time with household and pals.
“The squad is heading in a incredible route, and I’m unhappy to be leaving the journey right now, nevertheless it’s the best time for me. Chris Duncan and Vikki Bunce have been nice to work with and the crew is progressing very well. I’ll positively be cheering them on at each alternative.”
Becky made her Scotland debut towards Belgium in February 2008. “I keep in mind it was very chilly and I used to be ready to get on. The very first thing I did in a Scotland shirt was fall flat on my face! I keep in mind it was a facet line ball and by some means I managed to fall over.
“I’d already been away with Scotland to play indoor in Vienna in 2007. The squad signed a poster for me on that journey, and I nonetheless have it on my wall. However when it got here to taking part in with the out of doors crew I keep in mind actually feeling like a teenager – it was a giant expertise for me.”
The expertise proved to be an essential constructing block in Becky’s growth and earlier than lengthy she was chosen to play in a serious event for Scotland.
Becky’s first huge event expertise got here in 2009 within the EuroHockey A Division, with a visit to the fabled Wagener Stadium. Ward mentioned, “I keep in mind the stadium, and it was completely different then. I’ve performed within the Wagener Stadium fairly a number of instances in my profession, and nowadays it has a stunning huge trendy stand, however again then it was fairly old fashioned with wood seats.”
Quick ahead to 2014, which was an enormous yr for Becky with the construct as much as Glasgow 2014 together with check sequence’ towards South Africa, Eire, and Spain; as properly the London Cup and Champions Problem tournaments.
Becky’s solely purpose for Scotland got here in 2014 towards India in a 4-0 victory on the Champions Problem in Glasgow forward of the Commonwealth Video games. Becky defined, “It was a penalty nook. It’s fairly humorous as I used to be usually the trapper, and after the huddle on the prime of the D I realised Emily Maguire was within the trapper place. So I made a decision I’d run to the submit, simply to remain out the best way, however the ball simply fell to me and I put it in. I feel I used to be the happiest individual on the planet at that second!”
Glasgow 2014 was the primary of three Commonwealth Video games appearances for Becky and was a particular expertise. The Glasgow Nationwide Hockey Centre was constructed for the Video games at Glasgow Inexperienced and preparation for the event was an thrilling time. “The nation was buzzing and I keep in mind being so excited. Seeing Glasgow Inexperienced for the primary time with the stands up is a reminiscence that basically stands out, all the things was new and we had been all simply raring to go.
“I additionally keep in mind after we had been in that full time coaching block earlier than the video games, the travelling ladies from Dundee and Edinburgh just about lived in a resort in Glasgow. All the women who labored within the eating corridor used to offer us hugs after we returned from our days off again residence as a result of we had been staying there so lengthy. Simply from the build-up you simply knew it was going to be good.
“The matches had been so noisy and it was superb having all our family and friends there. The environment was nice; the village was nice; and mixing with all the opposite athletes was nice too.”
4 years later when Gold Coast got here round Becky was cemented as one of many senior gamers within the squad, and a part of the crew’s management group with Kaz Cuthbert and Bex Condie. The management position was one which Becky embraced and loved. She mentioned, “For Gold Coast I had added accountability for certain. We wished to go there and enhance on Glasgow – it wasn’t nearly competing, we wished to do higher. Among the video games had been so shut, which was good and dangerous. On one hand it felt like we had been getting someplace, but additionally we’d put in a lot and bought so shut however not all the outcomes we wished.
“Off the pitch although Gold Coast was particular for various causes. It’s probably the most I’ve ever felt a part of Workforce Scotland, in all probability as a result of we had been all on the opposite facet of the world. Being so removed from residence appeared to make Workforce Scotland extra collectively than ever.
“Birmingham 2022 was much like Gold Coast in that we got here so shut once more. It’s nonetheless contemporary in my thoughts clearly, however the crowd was superb – there have been so many saltires within the stand.”
Becky has been a stalwart for Scotland and represented the nation at EuroHockey and FIH competitions in 2011 in Poznan; 2015 in London; 2017 in Valencia, Brussels and Amsterdam; 2019 in Glasgow and Banbridge; and 2021 in Amsterdam and Pisa.
One in every of her greatest recollections of taking part in in a Scotland shirt was the EuroHockey Championship II, held in Glasgow in 2019. Scotland gained gold on the jam-packed event with a 100% document. The success in 2019 not solely secured the Scots a gold medal, however gained them promotion again to the highest tier of European hockey.
Becky mentioned, “2019 was nice, to go and win each sport was simply superb. We’d had so many shut video games with Italy, and fell quick, so to beat them within the ultimate in Glasgow was like a turning level. We’ve beat them once more since and it felt like we bought that monkey off our again in 2019.
“I loved the 2015 A Division as properly. We had some tight video games towards Belgium, Germany and England. Once we scored first, towards England in our first sport, it was sensible. The purpose was a nook and we’d labored on it for therefore lengthy, so for Kaz to attain it was such a terrific second. Many of the different groups had been just about full time hockey gamers however there we had been displaying them that we may compete. Enjoying towards these world class gamers was what I thrived on.”
Scotland ladies’s Head Coach Chris Duncan additionally highlighted Becky’s achievements and contribution to the Scotland crew. He mentioned, “Becky has been a standout inside the nationwide programme over the course of a 14 yr and 179 cap profession. She has been a frontrunner along with her efficiency ranges, her perspective in direction of coaching, and her tutelage and assist for these round her.
“Becky has properly and actually had a powerful worldwide profession spanning three Commonwealth Video games, a number of European Championships and has had a major affect on the event of the squad alongside being a persistently world class performer.
“Inside the programme we communicate concerning the focus being ‘folks first’. We have now athletes who mix a number of commitments at residence, at work, inside additional schooling and extra, while additionally balancing the calls for of worldwide sport. Becky has been an ordinary setter inside all of those areas and we are going to miss her.”
When you could have an unbelievable profession like Becky’s there are such a lot of folks to thank for his or her contributions and assist down the years. Becky mentioned, “I wish to say thanks to Dundee Wanderers, I began on the membership once I was eight years outdated and so they actually nurtured me and gave me superb assist down the years. Ben and Marlyn Gibson particularly had been nice for me, I name them my hockey dad and mom, and I’d prefer to thank them for all their assist.
“An enormous thanks to all my household and pals, and a large thanks to John and my dad and mom, June and Steve, who’ve been there by means of all of the highs and lows – they’ve picked me up so many instances and I’d by no means be the place I’m with out them.
“Because of my employer, The Excessive College of Glasgow, for all of the superb assist to permit me to go and play hockey for Scotland. Because of my present membership, Western Wildcats who’ve been nice over the previous couple of years as properly.
“I’d prefer to thank all my crew mates and coaches down the years; all of the gamers who I performed with on the journey. It’s been a tremendous expertise and I’ve so many fond recollections to look again on.”
An enormous congratulations from all at Scottish Hockey to Becky Ward on a incredible Scotland profession.