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Holcombe face Buckingham in the Investec Women's Premier League play-off semis at Lee Valley

By Luke Cawdell

Fifteen-year-old Izzy Shelley has been selected for the Holcombe team which will be playing in the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division play-offs this weekend.

The league champions will be competing in the finals at the Lee Valley Hockey & Tennis Centre.

Shelley made her Holcombe debut just days after her 15th birthday and, at the time, was believed to be the youngest girl in the country playing hockey at national league level.

Izzy Shelley with former Holcombe player Maddie Hinch in 2016
Izzy Shelley with former Holcombe player Maddie Hinch in 2016

She made her debut for Holcombe’s first team last month in a 4-1 Women’s Premier Division victory over Slough.

The league finals see the top four teams battle it out to claim the play-off title at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Holcombe are up against fourth-placed side Buckingham in their semi-final match on Saturday (3.30pm) with the winners facing either Surbiton or East Grinstead. The winners meet in the final on Sunday (4pm).

Holcombe's Barry Middleton in action Picture: Steve Crispe
Holcombe's Barry Middleton in action Picture: Steve Crispe

*Barry Middleton has announced his retirement from international hockey, having won 432 caps and scored 119 goals for England and Britain during a 16-year career.

The country’s most decorated hockey player has been playing for Holcombe since joining them in 2013, helping them reach the top level of the national game.

He has played in four Olympic Games, four World Cups, eight European Championships and four Commonwealth Games.

He said: “It has been an honour to represent my country for so many years and it has been a dream job for me.

“Thanks to everyone who has coached, played with or supported me during my career.

“I look forward to sitting back and watching Great Britain and England knowing that they are in a good place to challenge the best in the world and I will be supporting them every step of the way.”

Holcombe's Sarah Jones in action against Canterbury Picture: Steve Crispe
Holcombe's Sarah Jones in action against Canterbury Picture: Steve Crispe

*Holcombe’s Sarah Jones netted her first goal for Great Britain in a 4-2 defeat to Argentina in the FIH Pro League last Saturday.

Britain have won just one of their opening five games in the international tournament. Next up for the GB side is an away game against Germany on April 24.

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