David Kettle ‘Welsh Dragon’

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Who is David Kettle?

Current Surbiton and Wales GK.

When did you start to play hockey?

I was 11 when I first started playing in goal. My first game was at Repton School and it took my mother + two other parents to pad me up! I was always more focused on cricket but at 16 I started to take my hockey a little more seriously.

What makes a top goalkeeper?

At the top level now it’s mainly around being very good on penalty corners and being able to make 2nd/3rd phase saves on rebound ball. I’m not the tallest GK around so I work very hard on my speed and agility. Being able to communicate the right lines in defence is also a key skill, this comes with experience.

Can you define your goalkeeper style?

I’m quite active and always looking to anticipate balls into the circle so that I can get on top of deflections at source.

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Do you feel your role as a solitary one, that you play a different game than your teammates?

Not really, in the modern game I think GK’s and defenders work closely as a unit, particularly when managing overload situations. The beauty of playing in goal is that you get to watch and see a lot of hockey, this gives you great perspective.

Can you tell us about your career?

My pathway has been a little unusual. I played for Cannock HC up until the end of university with a couple of seasons spent playing in Australia in between. When I graduated I played a season in Malaysia. This was my breakthrough year and I made my senior international debut at the World Cup Qualifying tournament in New Zealand. I had a poor season in 2011 and failed to establish myself at East Grinstead, however moving to Surbiton HC in 2012 was the real catalyst for me establishing myself in the National League and for Wales.

You not only play but are also the captain of Wales, what have been your best memories as part of the Welsh national team?

Playing in the 2014 Commonwealth Games was a real highlight and a fantastic experience for us as a team. Co-captaining the side this year with Lewis Prosser & Luke Hawker has also been really enjoyable. We’ve beaten a number of sides ranked higher than us and topped it off by winning the European Championship III in Lisbon.


What are your ambitions regarding Wales at international level?

The next 18 months promises to be really exciting, we are a young side (average age 22) and I genuinely believe we have the potential to reach the FIH World League semi-finals and to get promoted from the European II division. We are putting the hard work in now because we know that success at those tournaments could lead to another Commonwealth Games and potentially a World Cup in 2018. We see the success Ireland have had lately and we know there’s no reason why we couldn’t replicate it?

Plans and ambitions for the future?

By GK standards I’m still quite young (27) so I’d like to think I’ve got another 6/7 years left playing at the highest level. I still have ambitions of representing Great Britain. I want to keep winning test matches and tournaments with Wales and I’d love to qualify for the EHL again with my club Surbiton. There’s a lot to look forward to!

David Kettle


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