Allberry relishing start of ‘open’ season

editorial image
Katie Spooner is aiming high for City of Portsmouth Ladies. Picture: Keith Woodland

Developing talents can boost City glory bid

0
Have your say

He may have long given up on any international ambitions but Ben Allberry intends to help his side leave their mark in this year’s NOW: Pension’s League premier division.

The former Havant College student is about to start his third season with Canterbury in the top division of the domestic game.

Last season saw the 31-year-old, who teaches PE at Kent College Girls School, finish as the top scorer in the indoor qualifiers, while outdoors his team just missed out on finals day with a fifth-place finish in the league.

And although one of the older members of a largely young team, Allberry is relishing the chance to continue plying his trade at the highest domestic level.

He said: ‘My aims are more team orientated now.

‘My international aspirations stopped a long while ago when I didn’t quite make the grade at 21s and seniors.

‘We have reigning champions Beeston away first up (Saturday, 4pm) but we are excited about it.

‘The reason you are in the premier division is to play in the top games and Beeston are one of the top teams in the country. So I’m looking forward to it.

‘It’s tougher now the games are moving to Saturday.

‘One of the best things about playing National League was that it was on Sundays and you could fit it around private education Saturday fixtures.

‘But school have been very good. They are very understanding and we will work together this season regarding games.

‘We have a young team. I’m the second oldest but it is a good balance.’

Playing for Canterbury, Allberry regularly comes up against seasoned international players, including members of England’s bronze medal-winning side at this summer’s Commonwealth Games such as Ashley Jackson and Adam Dixon of East Grinstead and Beeston respectively.

But the forward believes with a touch more consistency, his team can match the best.

He added: ‘Because of the movement of players between teams this summer, I think it is going to be a much more open league and no-one will run away with it.

‘We have set our sights at top four and we are confident we can do it.

‘Indoor was better last season, outdoor it was just that consistency.

‘We’d have a great week one week and then the next we would go out and have a shocker and that’s something we are looking to change this season.’

n NOW: Pensions is the official sponsor of the England Men’s League. Follow @NOWhockey or go to nowpensions.com