Early opportunities for learning hockey skills have helped a school team secure a county title for the second year in a row.

Girls from Barnard Castle Preparatory School won the U11 County Cup after playing what their coach described as “some of the best Prep School hockey” she had seen.

Lizzie Hairsine added: “There were many lovely passages of play by the team. It was a fantastic effort and they should be extremely proud.”

The girls will now represent County Durham in the North East round of the In-2 Hockey nationals in March when they will meet teams from Newcastle and North Yorkshire.

In the county tournament, which Barnard Castle School hosted, they beat Bow School 8-0 and Choristers 4-1.

Two of the girls in the team – Aimee Willey and Pippa Atherton – are boarders at the Prep School.

Aimee said: “It’s great because if we have spare time at weekends and in the evening we can practise on the school AstroTurf.”

Sue Seddon, who also coaches the girls, added: “We have had a couple of strong years, helped by starting hockey lower down the school. All girls get the chance to play in a skills tournament in Year 3 and by Year 4 they’re playing six-a-side competitive matches followed by seven-a-side with a goalkeeper in Years 5 and 6.

“The opportunities for girls to play competitive sport at the Prep School are supported by after-school hockey and netball in both the Michaelmas and Lent terms.”

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