International honours for Matt
WESTON Hockey Club’s 1st XI captain has enjoyed a taste of international sporting glory, after winning the Home Nations championship with the England over-40s Masters side.
Worle’s Matt Bearsby, who has played for the club for 24 years, made his international debut at the tournament in Ireland in July. England beat Wales 2-1, Scotland 3-1 and drew 0-0 with Ireland to secure the title.
But his international career could have been over before it even started after he missed out on a trial earlier this year.
He wrongly thought he was ineligible to play because he did not turn 40 until June and turned down the invitation.
Believing his chance had gone, he played for the West’s regional side in a national tournament in May and found himself up against one of England’s centre-forwards.
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Such was his dominant defensive display that the watching England manager picked him on the spot.
And now Weston’s star centre-back is preparing himself for a trip to the European Masters in Germany later this month and Singapore for the International Masters tournament in the autumn.
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If he continues to play well he could play at the inaugural World Cup next year in London on the Olympic site.
But Matt, a roofer for Seymour Roofing, said his rise has come at a cost.
“The trips and kit are all self-funded. I have recently spent �166 on playing kit alone,” he said.
And he now faces a bill of over �1,500 for flights and accommodation in Singapore as the English Hockey Association (EHA) does not fund Masters events.
“It is a bit frustrating. The EHA in the last two years has had about �3.5million in lottery grants,” he said.
Mr Bearsby, a married father of two, said he was extremely grateful for sponsorship he receives from the club, Seymour Roofing, Woodspring Resource Centre and Medequip.
He also urged players of all ages to get involved and said the club is on the lookout for new recruits.