Three veteran hockey players from Huddersfield have been picked to play for their country.
Paul Dallas, Dave Durrans and John Ridings will all represent England’s Over 60s team in the Home Internationals to be held in July at Swansea and in the European Games to take place in August in Glasgow.
Paul will also play for the England LX Hockey Club for the over 60s in the Asian Games to be held in October in Hong Kong. LX is Roman numerals for 60.
It is thought to be the first time that three members of the same northern-based club have been selected for the England Over 60s squad.
And it’s proof that age need be no barrier to playing sport at a competitive level.
Paul, who lives at Golcar, will be 65 in September while Dave, who lives at Linthwaite, is 70 and John, who lived at Fixby for many years before moving to Harrogate, will be 70 later this month.
Paul has been playing hockey for about 36 years while John has played for 54 years and Dave for almost 45 years.
All are members of Huddersfield Dragons Hockley Club and have played at regional and national level.
Paul said he took up hockey after quitting rugby union – in which sport he played for teams including Cleckheaton, Huddersfield YMCA and Old Brodleians in Halifax.
The three keep themselves fit. John goes on regular runs and plays hockey several times a week while Dave keeps in trim by running and dancing. Paul exercises at his gym at home as well as running and cycling.
Said Paul: “We were at the stage where we were playing for the Yorkshire Veterans’ third, fourth or fifth team. The standard is still good, but we were getting slower!
“That’s the time when some people throw in the towel, but with the LX team you get a new lease of life. You are playing people in your own age group and there’s the social side of things as well.”
Paul said the sport was in good shape locally. Huddersfield Dragons, who play home fixtures at Lockwood Park, has two ladies’ teams, five men’s teams and a junior squad.
Even at the over 60s level, it’s a fast game, he said. “We play on artificial surfaces and the ball goes like a rocket. One of the great things is the rule changes which have also made the game much faster.”