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Ulsterman Ian Sloan is honoured to be selected as captain of GB

 

By Graham Hamilton

Cookstown's Ian Sloan has become only the second Ulsterman to captain a Great Britain hockey team.

And in an unusual twist, the midfielder wore the captain's armband for the first time at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia - where his father Martin played with GB exactly 30 years ago.

Ian, in fact, has been named GB co-captain for GB and England's next three tournaments - the Azlan Shah series which is ongoing, June's World League 3 series in London and August's European Championships in Amsterdam.

And it has been a steady start in Ipoh for Sloan (right), with a 2-2 draw against India on Saturday and wins over Japan (5-3) on Sunday and hosts Malaysia (1-0) yesterday to go joint top ahead of games against Australia today and New Zealand on Friday which complete the round-robin phase.

Another Ulsterman, Mark Gleghorne, is also in the new-look GB squad.

"It's an honour to captain GB, and a bit of a coincidence that I wore the armband against Japan in Ipoh where my dad Martin also played with GB 30 years ago," said Sloan.

"Mind you, he was 25-years-old then, and I'm only 23," he added, tongue-in-cheek.

The only other Ulsterman to captain a GB squad was Olympic gold medallist Stephen Martin during the Nineties.

Meanwhile, the domestic season edges closer to conclusion, with the Anderson Cup and junior inter-provincials.

The Anderson semi-finals are on Saturday with Cookstown taking on Belfast Harlequins at their Tyrone base and Kilkeel away to Portadown.

Cookstown are pushing to make it three trophies in one season as well as promotion to the Irish Hockey League.

"As much as we enjoyed last weekend, we are keen to turn our attention to the Anderson Cup," said the Reds' co-captain Mark Crooks.

"We'll need to start better than we did against UCD last week and finish just as strongly if we are to reach Wednesday's final."

The junior inter-provincials are at Stormont on Saturday and Sunday, and Ulster coach Colin Holmes is hoping home advantage will enable success.

ULSTER JUNIORS: Chris Kent (Bangor), Matt McRoberts (Annadale), Jonathan Aiken (Kilkeel), David Atkinson (Cookstown), Thomas Sturgeon (Banbridge), Clarke Stockman (Mossley), William Malcolmson (Banbridge), Stuart Todd (Mossley), Mitchell Greer (Cookstown), Alex McBride (Antrim), Richard McGaw (Cookstown), Gavin Butler (Cookstown), Gregg Frizelle (Instonians), Richard Nelson (Cookstown), Corey Stevenson (Kilkeel), Jordan Barr (Mossley), Steven Stewart (Cookstown), Dan McConville (Banbridge).

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