GB Senior Home Debuts for DUHC Stars Ollie Payne and Fiona Crackles
(13 May 2021)
Ollie Payne and Fiona Crackles made their senior Great Britain hockey home debuts last night as GB hosted Germany at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre following their return to the FIH Pro League. Payne, who is a Goal Keeper, contributed to the men’s 5-3 victory, putting in some key saves at critical moments to ensure the home side finished the game in front. Crackles, who won player of the match on only her fourth cap against Belgium at the end of last year, put in a dominant performance in the midfield, but unfortunately the women fell short to a late winner from the visitors.
Following a decorated junior international career, Payne graduated from Durham last summer and joined the centralised programme to train with the senior group ahead of the Tokyo Olympics. Whilst at Durham he helped his team get to three consecutive national BUCS finals, winning in 2018 on penalty strokes and being named the Number 1 University Hockey programme for the 2019/20 season. He was a dominant force in the England Hockey Men’s Hockey National League North Div 1 for three years and his student playing days at Durham were epitomised when his team were promoted to the Premier League, making club and university history.
Crackles, a second years Sports Science student made the step up to the seniors in January to join old DUHC teammate and friend Tess Howard who joined the group in 2018. This comes as no surprise to DUHC or Team Durham, who were in full support of their Women’s 1s captain. Since joining the group full time, it has been great to see the journey Crackles has been on and the strides she has made both on and off the pitch to develop both as a player but also as an individual. She has done all of this whilst studying for her degree, proving that Durham provides the greatest level of support to help its athletes to combine both sporting and academic excellence.
A supportive environment
DUHC President and England Hockey Regional Manager, Harriet Tebbs said, “We would like to offer our congratulations to both Ollie and Fiona on making their home GB debuts yesterday. All at Durham University Hockey Club will be watching the May Pro League games with great pride as their hard work not only at DUHC but with all other clubs on their journey comes to fruition.”
Head of Hockey, Gareth Weaver-Tyler, said, “There is something really special about seeing the development of a player both on and off the pitch from the first moment they arrive at DUHC. It’s a very proud time for the club to have two players make their GB home debuts on the same night and not only that but to also have three more players in the GB senior squads. It’s fantastic to be able to help these players realise their sporting ambitions but also support them academically to be the best that they can be. We wish them the best for this evening and in future matches.”
Durham University’s player pathway
Surrounded by a team of international coaches and expert support services, coupled with the ability to train at world class facilities, Durham continues to promote athlete development in order to help them progress to the world stage as well as supporting them with their studies. With 5 athletes making senior GB selection in the last 2 years and a handful of additional athletes in the EDP as well as the Scotland, Wales senior set ups and USA development groups, we look forward to more exciting things on the horizon for DUHC and its athletes.