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Hockey Writers Club 1,2,3

Two-time Olympian Dan Fox and Olympic gold medalist Maddie Hinch have won the prestigious UK player of the year awards for 2016, chosen by members of the Hockey Writers’ Club. 

The awards were made at the Club’s annual awards presentation lunch on Wednesday January 25, 2017 at the Royal Thames Yacht Club, Knightsbridge, London.

Defensive skills caught voters' attention for the men’s award, with Dan Fox winning the player of the year award for the first time in what was his final international season. The men’s vote was close with the Holcombe defender pipping GB skipper, and club teammate, Barry Middleton into second place. GB goalkeeper George Pinner completed a one, two, three for Holcombe. The men's award was sponsored by Mercian again this year.

In June 2016 Pinner also won the Chris Moore Salver which is presented annually by the Hockey Writers’ Club for the outstanding performance by a Briton in a designated major tournament. Pinner produced a notable goalkeeping display as Great Britain finished fourth in the Hero Champions Trophy at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London.

Fox announced his international retirement late in a year which included his second Olympic Games. In Rio, the 33-year-old reinforced his reputation as a fearless penalty corner runner and a strong defender despite Great Britain finished ninth in the men’s hockey tournament.

Dan Fox said: “I am very flattered to win. It is a great honour and something I didn’t really expect. Having retired from international hockey a few months ago, I had put that behind me. I am really delighted.

“For me, leading the Great Britain side – in Barry Middleton’s absence – at the World League Finals in Raipur [in late 2015] was a hugely proud moment. I played well there, but as part of a team that did well. 

“What was best about that tournament was we took a quite a young squad, but we competed. We beat Australia 5-2 which was the biggest win we’ve had against them in a number of years. Alongside all those other blokes who were playing well it was a great opportunity to prove myself and take a leading role in the side. 

“The club hockey I’ve played at Holcombe, and Hampstead & Westminster before that, has been a big part of my success. I feel lucky to have been part of the Great Britain programme for so long and to have gone to two Olympic Games.”

Fox lined up for England 101 times and for Great Britain 63 times, scoring twice.

Goalkeeper Hinch played a starring role in Great Britain’s gold medal win in Rio, denying all four of the Netherlands’ goal attempts in the shootout that decided the final after a 3-3 draw in normal time.

The 28-year-old was the clear winner in the poll of club members. She finished ahead of fellow gold medallists, retiring GB captain Kate Richardson-Walsh and Hollie Webb, the defender who scored the decisive shootout goal in the gold-medal match. The women’s award was sponsored by Investec again this year.

Hinch takes the award for the second consecutive year, having caught the eye of the voters last year in a similarly stunning shootout win for England over the Dutch in the final of the 2015 European championships at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London – a result that qualified Great Britain for the Rio Olympic Games. She currently plays for SCHC in the Dutch league, but played for Kent club Holcombe in the 2015-16 season. Hinch also won the award in 2013.

See the full England Hockey article here

Mnay thanks Jon Rye (Co-Chairman and Director of Hockey)