It takes a special – or crazy – kind of person to be a goalkeeper.
Even more so, when you happen to play the sport of hockey!
Preston man Mick Huggon may be well into his sixth decade but he still thrives on throwing his body in the way of a flurry of sticks and a granite-hard ball.
Despite being padded-up from head to toe, 54-year-old Huggon still has a number of bumps and bruises to show for his 40-year participation in the sport.
The current captain of Lytham Hockey Club’s second team, Huggon spent the prime years of his career helping Springfields rise through the divisions to the Northern Premier League.
And a few weeks ago, he gained national recognition when he played a pivotal role in the North of England Over-50s’ title success at the national finals in Cannock, Staffordshire.
After opening their campaign in the group stages with a 1-0 win over the Midlands, the North were then beaten 3-2 in a thrilling match against the West.
They secured their place in the semi-finals, though, with a convincing victory over Wales 3-0.
At the last-four stage, Huggon was beaten only once as the North progressed to the final with a narrow 2-1 win over the East. In the final, they gained sweet revenge on the West – winning 2-0 – to lift the trophy.
Huggon said: “I got a real buzz out of winning. I’ve not had anything like this feeling for years, since my early 30s, when I was winning promotions with Springfields.”
Next year, Huggon will turn 55 and he is hoping to win a place in the England Over-55s squad, which is currently preparing for this month’s Masters World Cup.