Veteran hockey international presented with Welsh cap at the age of 96
A veteran hockey player has been presented with his first Wales cap over 70 years after making his international debut.
David Thomas, who is 96, played hockey for Hounslow Hockey Club, Middlesex, Wales and Great Britain.
He was presented with his Wales and Great Britain hockey caps by Sheila Morrow, President of Great Britain Hockey at a moving ceremony attended by family and close friends at the retirement village in Devon where David now lives.
Born in Pontypridd, David trained at Loughborough College before serving in the R.A.F. as a physical training instructor.
He also worked as a P.E. teacher and became Director of the National Sports Centre (now called Sport Wales National Centre) in Cardiff prior to its opening in 1971.
He made his Wales debut on 18 March 1950 in a 2-0 away win against Scotland in Paisley, part of the annual home international series which also featured England and Ireland.
In November of that year, he was also part of the first Welsh team ever to take part in a men’s international hockey tournament on foreign soil. Wales was the only team from the British Isles taking part in the tournament in Barcelona which also featured some of the world’s best teams at the time, including Holland and Pakistan.
In all he played for Wales for 12 years from 1950-1962 and was captain for 4 years from 1959. He was also coach and team manager from 1961-1965.
David also went on to play for Great Britain in the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne scoring the sides opening goal in a 2-2 draw with Malaya. His last game for Great Britain was in May 1960 having gained 14 caps and scoring 5 goals.
In a speech following the presentation, David said he felt proud and humbled by the occasion and went on to say: “I had a wonderful career and I enjoyed myself immensely playing hockey”.
He also confessed that playing and training for international hockey meant he spent a lot of time away from home. He remembered an occasion at a hockey function when he overheard his wife saying: “I married David in 1950 and didn’t see him again until 1960!”
He concluded by saying that receiving the caps “means the world to me”.
The cap presentation was part of Hockey Wales and GB Hockey’s international cap projects which aim to collate an accurate record of former internationals and award an international cap to every player or their descendants.
Significant support for the project is provided by a small team of volunteers and The Hockey Museum in Woking.
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