Harry Martin and George Pinner hoping for golden weekend ahead of England’s semi-final with Holland

Harry Martin in action for England. Photo: Simon Cooper, PA

Harry Martin in action for England. Photo: Simon Cooper, PA - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Ipswich hockey stars Harry Martin and George Pinner believe securing a World League gold medal this weekend could be the start of something special for Great Britain and England’s men’s team.

The former Ipswich School duo are experienced members of an exciting new-look side put together in the wake of last summer’s disappointing ninth-place finish at the Rio Olympics.

Bob Crutchley’s side secured their spot at next year’s World Cup with an entertaining 4-2 quarter-final win against Canada on Thursday night and head into this afternoon’s final four clash with Holland at the Olympic Park, Stratford (4.15pm) full of confidence

The winners will face either Argentina or Malaysia in tomorrow afternoon’s final. A major tournament gold medal – of which there has been just one since 1988 – could start some positive momentum heading into August’s EuroHockey Championships (Holland), followed by next summer’s World Cup (India) and Commonwealth Games (Australia).

“I’ve come back from Holland because there is so much I want to achieve internationally still,” said Martin, the 24-year-old attacking midfielder having recently left European hockey giants Rotterdam to re-join the GB central programme at Bisham Abbey and sign for Hampstead & Westminster.

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“I’ve been playing in front of big crowds and against the world’s most technically-gifted players week-in, week-out, it was a good standard of life, but there is a really exciting opportunity for us on the international stage now.”

Martin, whose younger sister Hannah made her senior England debut earlier this year, added: “We’re playing some great hockey, are in good form and feel like we can achieve something great in the next few years.”

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Goalkeeper Pinner, who was recently named as one of the side’s three new captains, said: “In the past we’ve played nervous hockey, but this new group is playing front foot, high-press, attacking hockey that we enjoy and the crowd enjoys.

“We go into games believing that we will score more goals than the opposition. When we go behind we never panic.”

The 30-year-old added: “Can we win gold this weekend? I think so. I really do think so. With the form we are in, I don’t think anyone wants to play us. Our confidence is sky high.”

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