Beth hoping to produce perfect Storry

27 July 2012 / 14:41

Great Britain's women's hockey goalkeeper Beth Storry believes the team have peaked at exactly the right time and are the closest they have ever been to producing their very best form.

The 34-year-old, who made her Olympic debut in Beijing as the team did not qualify in 2004, has seen the team move up from ninth in the world rankings four years ago to fourth.

Along the way she has collected bronze medals at the European Championship (twice), the World Cup, Commonwealth Games and Champions Trophy.

In February they came close to winning their first gold, narrowly losing to hosts Argentina in the Champions Trophy, but Storry thinks that was part of the learning curve.

"I think this is the first time probably that I've actually felt a real sense of belief in how we play and in the group and the players we have got," the Reading goalkeeper said.

"You can just feel it on the pitch and I've never really experienced that before in previous (Olympic) cycles.

"Now in this cycle, I think we just go on the pitch and we really believe that we can beat all the teams out there, which is a fantastic place to be in before an Olympic Games."

Storry has been a key part of GB's recent success and is rated among one of the world's top goalkeepers, having been named in the International Hockey Federation's 2010 All Star team.

Defence is a crucial part of the team's core strength, with captain Kate Walsh and Crista Cullen two of the team's most experienced players forming a formidable partnership immediately in front of Storry.

Their solidity at the back is particularly important as the game has become more offensive in recent years.

"I guess it has become more attacking and as a goalkeeper you are naturally defensive," said Storry.

"Structurally, for me, I'm always wanting to call people back and make sure I have good defensive structures in front of me, whereas sometimes you do have to take a bit more risk and push people on.

"So for me I guess it is about allowing that to happen and thinking 'OK, this is a time when we can afford to be a little bit more aggressive and attacking in our play'.

"Really, instinctively I'm thinking 'No, come back and defend!'

"There are some incredible forwards in the world: (Mihyun) Park from Korea is just so skilful, she is brilliant, the Dutch are always skilful and really good - in fact, you could probably pick one from each team.

"For China you have Fu Barong, there are just so many game-changers and you only have to give them one shot in front of goal and they can make a difference and pull it off.

"The beautiful thing about our training programme and our squad as it is is that we have those players in our squad as well.

"Other teams have them, but we also have some amazing players in our team, and not just forwards."