Zimbabwe welcomed a new Sargeant into their World Cup polocrosse squad this week, with the news that Sophie Sargeant (nee Lodder) will be joining the squad in March to train for the World Cup in July. Sophie previously represented the UK in 2003 and was in the UK World Cup team for 2007 as well, before a broken arm in a pre tournament training camp in New Zealand meant she never got to play in the actual competition. However, she married Greg Sargeant in 2010 and will now join her sister in law Suzanne Sargeant in the Zimbabwe squad in March.
Her husband Greg played for Zimbabwe in his younger days before moving to the UK. He coached the UK in 2007 to second place in the World Cup and then both he and Sophie played for the UK against Australia in 2008. However, Greg then wasn’t selected for the men’s team which played South Africa in 2009 (Sophie played in the Ladies team) and neither he or Sophie played any polocrosse in the UK in 2010. They are now moving to Zimbabwe and it has been thought for a while that the Zimbabwe squad were keen to get her to play for them, in order to try and strengthen their ladies section.
Zimbabwe are reputed to have a very strong men’s section and will be very keen to improve on the 2007 World Cup which saw them slip to 5th in the world. They will want to get back amongst the top 4 nations in July and Sophie could go some way to helping them achieve that. For years she was one of the UK’s top rated ladies players and though the UK probably feel that their ladies section is still very strong without her they probably won’t like the idea of her playing against them a great deal.
Though Zimbabwe will not announce their final team until later this year if both Sophie and Suzanne make the final 8 then Zimbabwe will have two female Sargeants in their squad again, something they had in 2003 when Suzanne and her sister Paula were both in the team.