The closely fought match, which was enjoyed by students, parents and staff, saw Crista return to play at Oakham, where she had honed her hockey skills at the beginning of her path to Olympic success.
“The ‘All-Star’ match was absolutely brilliant for all of those who took part, as well as for spectators,” says Director of Hockey, James Bateman. “It was a great game – with the All Stars narrowly beating Oakhamians – but it wasn’t all just about the final score. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our students to play against an Olympian, and for all the spectators to see Crista in action, close up. Particularly when she scored a trade mark Drag Flick – for which she is renowned! She certainly put her ‘stamp’ on the new pitch which holds her name!”
As we have an impressive record for hockey at Oakham, we were able to gather a great OO squad along with being able to field a strong student side to challenge them to a great game.
The Crista Cullen squad included two team U23 GB players (Lucas Ward and Matt Ramshaw) as well as an England U21 player (Alice Huddlestone). Other squad members were: Amy Schanschieff, Jess Dooley, Flora England, Maddie Pearce, Ed Tattersall, Adam Skinner, Ben Watkin, Nathaniel Taylor, Albert Grieve and Jono Wills.
They were a number of Oakham’s illustrious Hockey Alumni who weren’t able to make the match due to other commitments – so some of them sent good luck messages by video including: Kathryn Lane (England Senior & Commonwealth Bronze Medallist), Annie Dalton (ISCA 1st XI Captain), Paul Spies (Germany U18 & Rotterdam 1st XI).
“It was particularly great to see how Crista’s inspiration and influence continues to go full circle,” concludes Director of Sport, Iain Simpson. “During the opening of the pitch, I showed a photograph of OO Alice Huddlestone when she first met Crista at one of our Prep School tournaments in 2011. Alice now plays Hockey for England U21s and played alongside Crista as part of the OO All Star squad. I’m confident that, going forward, those students who took part in Crista’s master class, or listened to her Sports Scholar talk, will be inspired to emulate her success.”