HOCKEY: World beaters
BEST friends Roger Edwards and Russ McQuillan are on top of the world after teaming up to help England to international glory on home soil.
Edwards who is 41 and plays for Devizes and 40-year-old McQuillan, who is player-coach at Chippenham, were both part of the over 40s team that triumphed in the inaugural Masters World Cup in Canterbury.
England were beaten 5-1 by Australia in their final game in Pool A but qualified as runners-up after victories over Wales (5-0) and South Africa (6-1) before a 4-3 penalty win over Germany set up a reunion with the Aussies in the final, Edwards and McQuillan’s side taking revenge with a 3-1 win.
“It was a unique experience and it was all a little bit overwhelming but to play against people who’d played in the Olympics before and beat them was brilliant,” said Edwards, who lives in Devizes.
“Me and Russ had a friendly for Oxford Hawks in the summer and saw the masters over-45s team and thought ‘we should have a crack at that’.
“After a trial, we made the over 40s squad for some home internationals and were eventually picked for the World Cup.
“Losing to Australia in the group was a bit demoralising but we looked at the video analysis and came up with a game plan against them for the final, which worked.
“Russ and I played together for five years at Devizes and even though there wasn’t an official award for our player of the tournament, I’d have given it to him because he really stood out.
“My wife Helen deserves a lot of credit too because she had to look after our 15-month-old son William and our four-week-old daughter Emily during the tournament. She put in a real shift.”
McQuillan, a former national league player after his time spent at Hounslow, said: “It was great to win the tournament and it was really nice to do it alongside Roger.
“We’ve been best mates for a while and he’s godfather to my daughter and I’m godfather to his son.”
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