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Kent over-40s have finals day to look forward to after wins over Essex, Suffolk and Hertfordshire at the Eastern Counties Masters following

Attention to detail proved key as Kent over-40s turned the tables at a women’s hockey tournament.

Kent had struggled to field a side at the Eastern Counties Masters in recent times.

Kent over-40s women topped their group at the Eastern Counties Masters
Kent over-40s women topped their group at the Eastern Counties Masters

Not only did they get a squad of 15 together this year, they also topped their preliminary round group with maximum points.

Finals day, scheduled for April 5, has been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak but the ladies have something to look forward to, with organisers targetting the end of summer for a new date.

Kent beat hosts Essex 3-1 in their opening game at Chelmsford, played before the national lockdown, thanks to goals from Jennie Hoyte (2) and Louise McCabe-Arnold.

Hoyte, Jenny Duggan and captain Kerry Constantine scored in a 3-0 win over Suffolk in their second match.

And top spot was secured with McCabe-Arnold, Hoyte and Natalie Harvey on target as Kent finished with a 3-0 success against Hertfordshire.

Their success represents quite a turnaround, with Constantine leading a big effort to build a squad and arrange training.

She said: “When we’ve done it previously we’ve barely even got a team together so it was really good to have such a positive result.

“Two years ago, we had one sub and lost every game.

“We all turned up on the day, we didn’t know each other and we didn’t have any training.

“Last year I was asked if I’d be happy to do the arrangements.

“I got lots of Kent teams’ contact details together and sent out emails but we only had two weeks’ notice and ended up with nine players, so we couldn’t field a team.

“This time, we had an email in January, which gave us a couple of months’ notice.

“I did the same again, emailing the clubs, and we wanted to look at eligible ladies who played as high a level as possible, to give us a good chance of being competitive.”

With the names on board, Kent set about tournament preparation, leaving no stone unturned.

Constantine added: “We arranged a training session, we all got together to meet, so we all knew each other.

“We spent a lot of time gathering data, so we knew if anyone had a preferred position, and what people did at attacking short corners and defensive short corners, things like that.

“I also drafted in my coach from Cliftonville, Alex Cowell, who came along and did the training for us, and he coached us on the day, which was a huge help.

“It made such a difference and was well worth the effort.

“If we’d had 15 or 16 players and most of them play in defence and midfield and we don’t have any forwards, the likelihood is we’re not going to score as many goals as we’d like.

“It all fell into place really nicely. All the prep we did came into play on the day.”

Squad: Debbie Flatley (Burnt Ash), Helen Rose (Folkestone Optimist), Louise McCabe-Arnold (Sevenoaks), Leanne McCabe-Arnold (Sevenoaks), Jenny Duggan (Maidstone), Lizzie Craig (Burnt Ash), Charlotte Hope (Marden Russets), Kerry Constantine (Cliftonville), Natalie Harvey (Folkestone Optimist), Jennie Hoyte (Holcombe), Carmel Sutton (Holcombe), Tara Hewett (Holcombe), Sharon Harding (Folkestone Optimist), Karen Drake (Holcombe), Fiona Dunn (Folkestone Optimist).

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