Mintlaw teacher Alana called up for European hockey championship

Alana Willox with some of her proud pupils at Pitfour Primary
Alana Willox with some of her proud pupils at Pitfour Primary

A Mintlaw woman is hoping to be a Euro star after being called up to represent Scotland in next month’s European Hockey Masters Championships.

Alana Willox is part of the squad who will take on the cream of the continent’s over-40s in Rotterdam from July 22-27.

It’s a third major championship for the 41-year-old - a teacher at Pitfour Primary in Mintlaw - after returning to the sport following a 12-year break to raise her four children.

“I started playing hockey when I was in fifth Year at Mintlaw Academy,” explained Alana, who now lives in Fraserburgh.

“I continued to play after leaving school but stopped when my children were young but took it up again following a 12 year break.”

She now plays for Merlins Gordonians Ladies 1s who will be playing in the Scottish National League Division 1 next season.

Her first experience of Masters Hockey was in 2017 when she played in the Home Nations Championships in Dublin and the European Championships in Tilburg, Holland.

Last year she played again in the Home Nations Championships in Swansea and the World Cup in Terrassa, Spain.

She said: “The World Cup was an amazing experience and something I will always have many fond memories of.”

Although they played a series of warm-up matches against at North England select in Durham in April , the Scots’ preparations for Rotterdam begin in earnest this weekend, June 14-16, when they once again take part in the Hone Nations Championships.

This year’s tournament is taking place in Southgate, London, with Scotland facing Wales on Friday, Ireland on Saturday and England on Sunday.

The Wales match will be rehearsal for the Euros as the countries have been drawn in the same pool, along with hosts The Netherlands whom Scotland play in their opening match.

After playing Wales they will then face two more teams in the cross over matches. The other countries in the women’s over-40s competition are Germany, France, Spain, Ireland, England and Ghana.

“Playing Masters hockey involves a lot of training and travelling which I couldn’t have done without the support of my family,” said Alana.

“I can honestly say that playing Masters hockey with and against the best players within my age group in Europe is a fantastic experience.

“The support and encouragement I have received from other Masters players has been invaluable.

“I have made many new friends and look forward to hopefully being involved with Masters Hockey for a long time to come.”