Being selected was a shock in itself for a De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) hockey player, but last month Matt Lilley was in the starting line-up as he represented his country at the British University and College Sports (BUCS) Home Nations Tournament.
The Vice-Chancellor’s Sports Scholar and Business Management in Sport MSc postgraduate travelled to Edinburgh for the competition in mid-April to compete for an English Universities select hockey side, which finished second.
Matt (left) competed against former Ashmoor Hockey Club (Devon) teammate Alf Dinnie of Wales
Scotland went on to win the annual tournament 3-1 over England after Matt and his side made the final following victory on penalty flicks against Wales – the score ending 2-2 in normal time.
Competing against Wales, Matt also came up against former Ashmoor Hockey Club teammate Alf Dinnie (pictured).
Matt said: “The whole experience from start to finish was absolutely amazing.
“I had the opportunity to meet and play with some quality lads and also watch some top quality sport too.
“Not only was I competing, but I got to watch some of the other sports on show and cheer on fellow England sides in our down time, which added to the experience.”
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Matt was victorious in Varsity 2017 as DMU’s men’s hockey team ran out winners against bitter rivals the University of Leicester for the first time in their history.
The side also competed strongly in BUCS Midlands Division 3B, but Matt said there is definitely a difference in the level skill.
“The level was a bit different from what I’m used to, as playing with and against international and national standard athletes is a huge step up from playing BUCS hockey for DMU.
“Being my own biggest critic, I am never truly happy with how I play and this was no different, but having a place on the starting line-up for my country was a pretty amazing feeling and proved that I must’ve been doing something right.”
After five years at DMU, Matt will soon be completing his studies, but says that his future remains in hockey.
“The tournament pretty much marked the beginning of the off season for me, apart from a few friendly games and tournaments.
“So a summer full of hard work in the gym is in order while I finish my master’s degree, but after that I’m unsure where I’ll be playing my hockey, but there are plenty of opportunities for me to step up my game for the season.”
Posted on Friday 12th May 2017