TRIUMPHANT: England women lift the 2014 Investec London Cup.
TRIUMPHANT: England women lift the 2014 Investec London Cup.
(Photo: Ady Kerry / England Hockey)

Hockey made a triumphant return to the Olympic Park in east London over the weekend with England’s men and women claiming the Investec London Cup silverware at the stunning Lea Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre legacy facility. 

In the men’s final, Rabobank Hockey World Cup semi-finalists England were made to battle hard to earn a shoot-out victory over ever-improving Ireland, with ace shot-stopper George Pinner making two key saves to help his team to victory after normal time finished with the scores locked at 2-2. 

Following a disappointing 11th place finish at the World Cup, England’s women claimed a morale-boosting 2-1 win over South Africa to ensure that they will head into the Commonwealth Games on a high. South Africa’s Jade Mayne cancelled out an early strike from Nicola White before Sam Quek thrilled the home fans with a penalty corner winner five minutes from time. 

Adapted from the London 2012 Wheelchair Tennis venue, the £30million Lea Valley complex includes a main arena with a basic capacity of 3,000 seats, rising to 12,000, two international standard pitches in blue with a Union Jack design. The impressive facility is located just a stone’s throw from where the Riverbank Arena - the temporary venue for the Hockey competition at the 2012 Games - once stood.  

“We have an exciting few years ahead of us and having a facility like this is a fantastic tool for us to engage the public with our sport and really stimulate some national pride in supporting England’s hockey teams”, said England Hockey Chief Executive Sally Munday in a recent interview with UK’s Daily Express newspaper. “It is also a huge benefit to the local clubs and schools in the area who will use the pitches which is of the utmost importance.”

She added: “This is a special moment for us. We have been talking about this for seven years. It is an amazing facility, an unprecedented venue for our sport. Hockey was the third biggest attended sport at the Olympics and now we are here for the Investec Cup.

“Next August we will stage the Euro Nations, the first ranking event here, and in 2018 the World Cup for women. Holland is a hard act to follow but we will do something different but very special come 2018.”

More information about the Investec London Cup can be found on www.englandhockey.co.uk , with match highlights and interview videos available on England Hockey’s You Tube Channel