HOCKEY player Ben Carless will be leaving Cardiff by bus tomorrow to begin his Commonwealth Games voyage.
The 23-year-old admits that being selected for the Wales team for the Glasgow showpiece is ‘a lifetime’s dream’.
Carless, whose family live in Wistanstow, near Craven Arms, played against South Africa this week in a warm-up for the Games.
The Wales team open their Games’ campaign against India next Friday before playing Australia on July 26, Scotland on July 28 and South Africa on July 29.
“The hockey is going really well – I feel fresh and excited about the challenges coming up at the Commonwealth Games,” said Carless, who played at Ludlow Hockey Club.
“There is a bus leaving Cardiff for Glasgow on Friday and the whole thing seems very real now because we have got all the kit.”
Carless has played warm-up matches against Scotland at the Commonwealth Games venue.
His parents, Simon and Jean and brother Luke, cannot wait for the hockey to start.
The former Wistanstow Primary School and Church Stretton School pupil now plays his domestic hockey for Bath Buccaneers in the National Hockey competition.
Carless explained: “There are two groups of five and the top-two from each group goes forward to the semi-finals.
“Wales are the second lowest ranked side. Realistically, we are targeting a fifth or sixth placed finish in the standings.
“There’s a squad of 16 and rolling substitutes and the defence rotates every seven minutes.”
Dad Simon said: “Ben worked so hard to get into this team and he has also worked very hard at university, so we are very proud of him.
“Ben has kept his place in the side since 2008 and this will be the biggest competition in which he has played,” said Simon.
“He has played at the World Cup in New Zealand but he is so thrilled to have made the squad for the Commonwealth Games.
Carless has just completed his masters degree in mechanical engineering at Bath University.
He works for Dyson, based in Bath, in the company’s design and innovation department.
Carless played for the Wales age-group teams from under-16 to under-21 level and joined the senior squad in 2008.
He said: “It’s a lifetime’s dream to go to a big multi-sport event and it’s one step down from the Olympic Games and it will be a great chance to compete on a big stage.
“I have never played in front of 6,000 people and it will be very exciting. I like the big occasion and I tend to do well in them.
“When you have spent time toiling and training on a hillside on a cold winter’s night, this one event makes everything special.”
Simon is planning to watch all of his son’s matches at the Commonwealth Games and Roger Furniss, from Ludlow Hockey Club, will also be travelling.