Double joy as twins get senior England call-up

NATIONAL HONOUR: Toni and Alex Jones
NATIONAL HONOUR: Toni and Alex Jones

TWINS Toni and Alex Jones are celebrating their first England senior call-ups to a world championships at the tender age of 15.

The coaches at Sudbury Roller Hockey Club, who play for Bury St Edmunds, are enjoying a stellar season that has seen them both named the best players in the country, Alex at under-15s and Toni in senior ladies.

It comes after the Sudbury Upper School pupils swept all before them in the same Bury side, winning the National Cup, Club Championships and Eastern Counties League, going the whole season unbeaten.

Both from Chilton, Alex is currently training in Portugal with the England Schoolboys side ahead of playing for the second year running in the Under-17s European Championships, to be held in Ploufragan, France, from August 28.

But he has recently found out he will going to Uruguay for the England B team to compete in the World Championships at the end of November.

Meanwhile, Toni had been selected to play for England Under-17s in the European Championships in Germany in October, but a lack of teams and funding by the host country means it looks likely to be replaced by a memorial competition in Portugal.

At the same time, she is also celebrating a call-up to the England Senior Ladies in the World Championships in Brazil in November.

And mother Pam Jones, the secretary of Sudbury Roller Hockey Club, could not be more proud of the pair, who both also referee games up to under-14s level.

She said: “This is a real big achievement for Alex (going to Uruguay) and we only found out a couple of weeks ago.

“Toni goes away at the end of November and Alex goes away a week later, so it is going to be a busy winter! I am very proud of them.”

Alex got into playing roller hockey after a family friend who had a child playing for Bury recommended the sport, and he instantly took to it, while Toni almost gave up the sport.

“It all started when we moved up here and Alex was a really shy child but he just had this ability to ride and he was not scared at all and we thought it would be good for him,” said Pam.

“Toni started with Alex and then had this thing that it was not girly enough as you could not get pink skates then and it took us a year to convince her to got back.”

Both players have played for Bury Roller Hockey Club, who train and play in Soham in Cambridgeshire, since 2004 and along with Pam helped form a club in Sudbury to act as a feeder side as the latter do not currently compete in the national competitions.

Taster sessions for beginners will be taking place in the school holidays at Sudbury Sports Centre on August 1 and August 3 from 2pm to 3pm. Anyone interested should contact Pam beforehand on 07966 169687.

With each international competition having to be solely funded by the family, at an estimated cost of £3,000 a time, they are also appealing for any potential sponsors to get in touch on the same number.