READING Hockey Club's Marianne 'Maz' Downer has received an international call-up, writes Dave Wright.

The 41-year-old defender is named in England's Over 40s squad for the Home Nations games and then the World Masters Hockey Trophy in London in August.

Sadly for her, the events are already in doubt due to all sport being currently suspended.

However, her selection comes as a fitting reward for her determination and dedication in battling back from a busted ACL, which left her sidelined for a season.

In the season just finished, Downer played consistently well for Reading, helping them to finish runners-up to unbeaten Wimbledon in the Investec League's Division One South.

"She thoroughly deserves to wear an England shirt," said Blues' player-coach Jo Ellis-Day.

"Maz has brought a wealth of experience among the promising youngsters at Reading.

"Her solid defence and tenacity is one which can't be matched by most around her.

"She has shown professionalism and pure determination to get herself back to playing at national league level after a horrific knee injury.

"It is a testament to her dedication, to her rehab programme and pure desire to be back where she wants to be to play hockey."

Ellis-Day is also part of the O35s squad and two years ago she captained England when they won gold at the Masters World Cup staged in Spain. She was also the top goal scorer across the whole tournament.

She coaches at Oratory Prep School and last month guided the Under 13 team to victory in the In2Hockey county competition, winning all seven games with 44 goals scored and only three conceded.