Great Britain, England and Canterbury hockey representatives Anna Bennett, Melanie Clewlow and Hilary Rose today announced their retirements from international hockey.
All three athletes were members of the Great Britain team that failed to qualify for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens and, with a combined tally of over 300 international caps, were also senior members of the England squad.
Aggressive forward Anna Bennett made her international debut for England in 1994 as an 18 year old against India in Basingstoke.
The 28 year old forward represented Great Britain in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, played for England in World Cups in Dublin 1994 and Perth 2002 and was a silver medallist at the Manchester Commonwealth Games in 2002.
In a career often dogged by injury Bennett had, in recent years, become a dynamic and hard working striker whose great speed, ability to eliminate and opportunism in the circle made her a difficult opponent to counter.
During a long career Bennett made 190 combined international appearances, 64 for Great Britain and 126 for England. Her decision to retire, although not unexpected, is a major blow to British hockey and perhaps somewhat premature.
The versatile Mel Clewlow who started her career as a forward but more recently played as a defender for her country gained her first international cap in 1996 representing England against Ireland in Dublin.
Representative honours during her career included playing for Great Britain in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, involvement for England in the Utrecht and Perth World Cups and consecutive silver medals at the last two Commonwealth Games.
Across the last 8 years she achieved 167 combined caps for Great Britain and England. The 28 year old who was renowned for her powerful penalty corner strikes and tenacious play will be greatly missed from British hockey.
Goalkeeper Hilary Rose has had a distinguished playing career of some 12 years, spanning 162 international matches. She commenced her career in 1993 when she gained her first England cap playing against France in Glasgow and made her final appearance representing Great Britain in the recent Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Auckland.
During the last decade she represented Great Britain with distinction in two Olympic Games, Atlanta and Sydney, competed in three World Cups (Dublin, Utrecht and Perth) and gained silver medals with England in successive Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur and Manchester.
Throughout her career Rose was respected globally as one of the most accomplished goalkeepers in the women’s game, with her athleticism, outstanding reflexes and composure being the hallmarks of consistent high level international performance.
All 3 players are expected to continue their domestic careers with Canterbury where they have the opportunity to pass on their wealth of knowledge and experience.