Hockey: Youth players flying high

Futures Cup and School Games players Aug 2018

With the start of the 2018/2019 hockey season just around the corner, some of Alderley Edge Hockey Club's youth players have been rewarded with selection for two prestigious England Hockey tournaments this month.

Under-18 players Sam Buckingham, Billy Hedley, Liv Moores and Ella Partington will all represent England at the annual School Games at The University of Loughborough. The games see 1,400 young, elite athletes competing across 11 sports and allow future sports stars to experience a large, multi-sport event, often for the first time. Former School Games alumni include Rio Olympics gold medallists Lily Owsley and Georgie Twigg.

Caitlin Polley, who achieved International success with England U16 girls last season, Billy Hedley, Charles Barnes, Libby McCoy, James Parkin and Ella Partington also secured selection to the Pennine Pumas at this year's prestigious Futures Cup competition in St Albans. This tournament sees Great Britain's best U15 and U17 players from six regions battle it out for victory, closely watched by the England U16 and U18 selectors.

As the club's Men's 1st XI commence their first season playing in the National League and the Ladies 1st XI strive to achieve promotion to the same next season, AEHC also welcomes a new President in the shape of Phil Benton, who takes over from Graham Bryant as he assumes his new role as Mens 1st team Manager:

"I have been involved in hockey for many years, including playing in the National League for seven years," said Phil. "I've been at AEHC for 17 years and my children now play here too. I have always wanted to give back to a sport that offers so much. In taking on the Presidency I want to build on the culture that already exists and continue with the excellent coaching and youth development which lies at the heart of the club and which I hope will see the Ladies 1s join the Mens 1s in achieving National league status next season."

To that end Kelly Pryde-Fillingham has also joined AEHC as Ladies 1s coach under Head Coach and former Wales Senior Womens squad coach Amanda Partington. A former National League player with Sheffield HC, Kelly is also Head Coach to GB Colleges and Scottish Masters.

AEHC's Mens inaugural National League match will be against local rivals Bowdon 1s on 14 October.

Photo caption: AEHC youth players (L-R) James Parkin, Charles Barnes, Billy Hedley, Caitlin Polley and Libby McCoy.

Guest post by Sue Polley.

Alderley Edge Hockey Club, Hockey