• Sun. Jul 14th, 2024

North East Connected

Hopping Across The North East From Hub To Hub

TIME sensitive the nationals are this Saturday and Sunday

Screen Shot 2016-01-15 at 12.09.09SCHOOLGIRL hockey players will cross sticks and do battle at the highest level when they represent the North of England at a prestigious tournament.

An eight-player squad from Richmond School and Sixth Form College will bully off at the National Indoor Finals at the weekend, one of the few teams from the state schools sector.

Mainly comprising sixth form girls with one Year 9 player, the squad secured its coveted place by performing well in the Northern Regional heats. The only other North side to qualify was from Wakefield.

Most of the players are a year young but star squad member Bea Bell is just 13 and will be tackling players up to five years her senior.

The tournament, to be staged in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, on Saturday and Sunday, attracts some of the country’s best players, many from independent schools who are part of national development squads.

Richmond’s squad comprises Alice Macey, 16, Olivia Stones, 16, India Wilson, 17, Jasmine Hazell, 16, Mairi Teasdale, 17, Bea Bell, 13, Rosie Brannigan, 16 and Olivia McFarlane, 16

Team captain Olivia said: “We are really excited about the competition even though the standard is exceptionally high.

“Most of us have played together since Year 7 and know each other really well. We can read each other which helps us play well as a team – it’s as if we all know what the others are thinking.”

Six-a-side teams will play six 24-minute matches in a fast and furious high scoring game.

PE teacher and hockey coach Helen Southgate said: “This team went to the nationals last year having only played the indoor game three times. Since then they have trained before and after school and around studying for their mock exams.

“The progress they have made since last year has been amazing and playing at this top level will also help their outdoor game.

“Taking part in the nationals is an incredible experience. Last year they saw Lord Coe who was there watching his daughter play. They are all really good players and Mairi and Bea are part of the Junior Regional Performance Centre squad.

“It is going to be a massive challenge because the standard is so high. But the competition is so well run that they will develop their skills further and have an incredible time.”

By admin