The UK hopes of defeating the incoming Australian tour this summer were dealt a big blow with the announcement that Shelley King has been forced to withdraw from the squad due to her having to cut down on her riding while she is receiving medical treatment.
The loss of Shelley is a huge blow for the UK as she is one of the key figures in the ladies section. She has played in both the last two World Cups and against the Zimbabweans and the South Africans in between them, and proved she is a hugely influential player. Most experts agree she is one of the best lady players in the world and some rate her as the top ladies’ number 1 around. She was the only lady to play number 1 for the UK at the last World Cup and showed to the world what a potent strike force she is as she helped the UK reach the final by scoring some wonderful goals when it mattered most.
Without her it is believed the UK selectors have a choice of only six ladies to make their four player squad. These are Debra Harris, Sarah Simkin, Ruth Jones, Sophie Lodder, Jess Shearing and Lucy Shell. All six have UK squad experience but the loss of Shelley means the selectors will have to make sure their team includes a top class number one (as Shelley was likely to lead the line once again). The other two players in the squad who have significant number 1 experience are Ruth Jones and Sophie Lodder, with the other three normally playing at 2 or 3 (Sophie is also normally found at 2 or 3 for the UK ladies but did play 1 sometimes for the under 21’s team). It would seem likely that the selectors will go with the four players with the most experience, which would mean that Jess and Lucy will not make the final team but there may yet be a surprise.
Polocrosse Extreme would like to wish the very best to Shelley and her family and hope she gets better soon!