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Within minutes, the pile of stretchers disappears as a trail of casualties is carted to the sanatorium.Ask any women who have played hockey and they will tell you it has always offered an opportunity to let rip against opponents without having to worry about smudged make-up or social conventions about femininity.She told me: 'I've been hit at point-blank range on the side of the head by a Dutch international's stick, which simply flattened me.I've had assorted stitches in my knee after a ball was hit into it full tilt, plus dreadful bruises. She says: 'When I was younger, I didn't realise there was an opportunity as a young girl to become a full-time hockey player.I still pinch myself nowadays and I've loved every minute of it.'6 Kate Richardson-Walsh, 36: The team captain, she famously fractured her jaw during GB's first match at the 2012 Games.But the truth is you can forget all the hearty 'jolly hockey sticks' stuff at fictional schools like Malory Towers in those post-war Enid Blyton stories.What we saw at the Olympics was more reminiscent of the hilarious scene in one of the classic St Trinian's films, in which a pile of stretchers is strategically placed beside the pitch as the viciously aggressive home side, resplendent in gymslips, stockings and suspenders, runs on to make mincemeat of their more demure opposition.
She and wife Kate were both part of the London 2012 side that won bronze.This was hockey as blood sport, which must have been a shock to the millions watching who thought the women's game was a genteel pastime for well-bred young gels.The display of astonishing physical commitment gripped the nation.Going for gold: The British Women's Hockey team posed for a glam photo shoot in Rio ahead of their final against the Netherlands.Sarah Robertson, Alex Danson, Joie Leigh, Maddie Hinch, Lily Owsley, Kate Richardson-Walsh, Georgie Twigg (rear left-right), Sophie Bray, Sam Quek, Maddie Hinch, and Hollie Webb (front left-right)2 Alex Danson, 31: The team's striker is a youth mentor and a vegan. Educated at £13,700-a-year Farnborough Hill College in Berkshire, she was initially turned away from England hockey trials due to poor fitness levels.