Beeston’s Welsh hockey international, Sophie ‘Robbo’ Robinson, is certainly enjoying herself, even with a lengthy spell in the game, a one which has seen her rack up a double century of appearances for the Bees.
Even during the past couple of years from which there’s been a global pandemic, the 33-year-old counts herself as being one of the more fortunate ones, due to her international athletes’ status, and to have still been able to both travel, and play, prior to the current campaign getting underway that is.
A Graphic Designer by degree, from Nottingham Trent University, the Nottingham-born, Welsh star began playing in her hometown, before a brief, yet highly useful, spell on the continent, whilst also being seen to pull on that Bees jersey.
“I actually began playing, alongside my sister, at Newark,” began Sophie.
“Then I went to Nottingham Trent, where I studied Graphic Design, before a year which would see my playing hockey out in Holland.
“They’re taught a lot about the game, and from a really young age as well; it was so different, both on the field of play, and behind the scenes.
“I really learnt so much whilst I was in Holland and, if I was younger, I’d do it all again.”
Since the return to England however, Robbo is fast closing in on an impressive two decades with her beloved Bees, whilst also being able to count spells at Buckingham, and Belper, on her playing CV, affording respected breaks between.
Her return to Beeston however, it was one which she was more than excited about, and certainly more than willing to make.
“Although it’s great to return to Beeston, the time I had away from the club did offer the chance to how other clubs operate, how they play the game,” continued Sophie.
“Bucks offered me the chance to play Premier Division hockey, but the travelling, along with my work schedule, was mentally draining.
“Whilst Belper, they’ve got a great heritage, and with Craig Keegan there as well, but again, it was difficult for me.”
However, in coming back home, as well as returning to the international fold following a lengthy hiatus (she returned in early 2019 after an eight-year absence), along with her now coaching as well, it’s had understandable benefits.
Those benefits have especially been afforded from Robbo returning to the Welsh set-up, international athletes being afforded a little extra grace over the past couple of years whilst the pandemic has cause havoc pretty much everywhere.
“I’ve been really lucky to have been playing international hockey,” explained Sophie.
“We’ve had the World Cup qualifiers in Italy, and the Europeans in the Czech Republic, where we did okay really, but also could have done much better.
“It felt as though we were under-prepared for the World Cup, even more frustrating when you see that the men’s team is going to the finals.
“Now though, my aim, focus, is on the 2022 Commonwealth Games, whilst also seeing how long I can last here at Beeston, as to how long the body holds up.”
Speaking of Beeston though, their women’s team is already guaranteed their best ever finish to a season (previous best was seventh place), and that is something that delights both Robbo, and her teammates.
“I’ve played for this club for so long that I want us to be able to finish as high as we can now,” concluded Sophie.
“Doing that means we can learn more in moving forward; it’s exciting times, but we also have to maintain our confidence, our momentum, and continue to put those points on the board.”
*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).
*Main image @OfficialBeeHC Sophie Robinson in action for Beeston.