Focused keeper Kirsty’s big goal

Kirsty Mackay

Kirsty Mackay

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Blackpool’s Kirsty Mackay has a huge incentive ahead of hockey’s Investec World League Challenge which starts on Saturday.

Long-standing Great Britain goalkeeper Beth Storry, a bronze medallist at the London Olympics last year, has retired from the national team.

And that has left a gap in the England line-up.

Storry bowing out of the international scene has left Mackay as one of two keepers vying for a spot in the England team for the Investec tournament, which takes place at the University of Westminster Sports Ground in Chiswick.

Kirsty, who plays for the Bowdon Hightown club and has six caps, is in competition for the goalie’s jersey with Maddie Hinch, who plays for Holcombe.

England have been drawn in Pool B and will face strong opposition from Australia, South Africa and Spain.

First up for England is South Africa.

Despite being ranked seven places below England, the southern hemisphere side always prove to be strong contenders and this is likely be a close encounter with open attacking hockey.

England face Australia on Sunday.

The antipodean team known as the Hockeyroos may feel they have a score to settle after their last meeting resulted in defeat, when England clinched bronze at the Investec Challenge.

Tuesday brings England’s final group stage game against Spain, who have a new coach and a new line-up.

England are under new management too – the women’s head coach is now Jason Lee, who has switched from overseeing the national men’s team.

Mackay is fully fit after a serious back injury that ruled her out of contention for GB team which won bronze at the London Games.