Thursday, June 19, 2014
A Sidmouth family is basking in the glory of one of their own being part of an England gold medal winning team, writes Steve Birley.
The Milton family have lived in Sidmouth for the past 45 years and Dale Milton was part of the England Hockey Masters team that won the top honour at the recent Masters World Cup held in Holland where he ended the competition as England’s joint Player of the Tournament.
These days Dale lives in Purley, Surrey with his wife, but the family home remains in the town and his sister Melinda (Gater) owns and runs local business The Hairloft.
Dale has been playing hockey since he was ten and he went on from schools hockey to play for Bristol, University where he was 1st XI captain.
During the 1970’s he was mostly associated with Isca in Exeter and was part of the Isca squad that won the National Inter-League play-offs in 1980 (at that time that was the top competition in England!). He recalls once playing hockey on the Sidmouth Fortfield cricket ground when the match had to be called off because of snow!
Dale played for Devon and Gloucestershire at various age groups including the full side and also played in the West of England side at the age of 21 and the full West XI in the 1980’s.
His main hockey career saw him playing for East Grinstead in the 1st Division of the National League from 1988 to 1995. From there he moved on to play for East Grinstead veterans (over 40’s) and he first became involved properly with Masters Hockey once he had reached the age of 50.
In each of the last six years he has been selected in England teams and has managed to maintain an extraordinary record!”
In those six years, playing first in the England Over-50s and then the England Over-55s he has known nothing but success!
He has been part of teams that have won; two World Cups (in Canterbury and Rotterdam); two Asian cups (in Hong Kong and Singapore), two European Cups in Germany and Ireland; and five home international tournaments (all involving Scotland, Ireland and Wales each year).
Dale is not a one-sport man, he also plays golf and ski’s and, when younger, played plenty of squash and rugby.
In terms of the biggest influence on his hockey career Dale says: “That would probably be my
team mates at East Grinstead who won gold medals at the 1988 Seoul Olympics; Richard Leman, Steve Batchelor and Robert Clift.
The Milton hockey line is not coming to a halt any time soon. Dale continues to play and has one eye already on the next World Cup – looking like being held in Australia in two years time - and he has a brace of sons who are both good players, each winning three ‘Blues’ whilst at Oxford University and the pair play currently for London and south east based clubs.