“The World Cup will be amazing, but I’m afraid of my parents’ hats! »

England international Holly Hunt admits she can’t wait to play her first senior tournaments this summer, but is a bit apprehensive about her parents’ choice of headgear in the stands!

Hunt – who hails from Stockport – is taking part in a World Cup, Commonwealth Games on home soil and European Qualifiers in the space of two months in a stunning introduction to senior international tournaments.

The Women’s World Cup of Hockey takes place in the Netherlands and Spain from July 1-17, with England opening on Sunday July 3 against India.

Holly said: “I’m really excited, it all still feels a bit surreal. Considering the last time I played in a real tournament was under 21 in 2017, it will be really cool to do a senior world cup, what an amazing opportunity.

“Being able to compete with the best senior teams in the world is something I dreamed of as a little girl, and doing three tournaments in one summer will be very busy – but awesome!”

Holly and the team will be superbly supported by friends, family and fans in the pit, and Holly’s parents have a growing reputation for their unabashed support!

She said with a smile, “The support from all the parents is amazing, I’m just dreading to think what hats mine are going to pull off this time!

“I was home a few weeks ago when a parcel was delivered, my mum shook the box a bit and it was really tinkling so I knew it was another hat! She was trying to hide it from me but I just thought, let’s go! If they don’t have hats, they have headbands, wigs, the whole attire.

As well as supporting in the stands, Holly spoke about the support within the team, as she is part of a squad of nine players playing in their first World Cup. “We talk about the psychology behind it all, everyone can be nervous about going to a tournament, but there are a few of us together. As the cliché goes, take every game as it comes, play the game not the occasion, don’t get overwhelmed.

England play all of their group matches in the Netherlands at a venue Holly knows well. “I’ve played a lot of junior stuff there, I’ve played Amsterdam Stadium a few times, you can guarantee a crowd and an atmosphere.”

And later in the summer there will be a great atmosphere again as international hockey comes to the Midlands here in England. “Having the Commonwealth Games at home in Birmingham, that’s the university I went to, it’s very special.

“I can’t wait to play on this ground again. There are six of us in total who went to Birmingham University, Lily Walker as students of course, so going to play there together will be amazing. We are staying in corridors which are a little different but pleasant!

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