Two of the graduates from Alderley Edge's hockey academy are one step away from international honours.
Men's first team defender Andrew Jackson is in the final training squad for England under 18s, taking place in February. This comes after he captained the North representative team, the Penine Pumas, in the Futures Cup in November.
In the same tournament Helena Evans was part of the Pumas girls Under 16s who won the tournament and her outstanding performances mean that she too is just one step from gaining an England call up and she has been attending a specialist EHB strength and conditioning camp.
Everyone at Alderley Edge are delighted with the continued success in the junior section, where they had a six representing the North U16/U18s plus a further dozen at JPRC level, ready to be Pumas next season.
The men's team returned to winning ways on Saturday when Alderley Edge took on neighbours Bowdon in a friendly before the league programme restarts next week.
In an open game Alderley were quickest out of the blocks and took the lead when Simon Parr's driven pass was superbly deflected on the run and into the far top corner by Frankie Bryant.
Bowdon believed that they equalised soon after but the Umpires disagreed, this sparked the game into life and Bowdon mounted several spirited attacks. However, Riley in the Alderley goal produced a string of fine saves to keep Bowdon at bay, with Badger who showed no rustiness on his return to the defence, they survived the onslaught.
As the half drew on Alderley regained control with Mattingly seeing more of the ball and Kay an ever present outlet and the Gregory brothers causing problems for the visitors with their pace.
At the start of the second half Edge were again quickly into their stride and England hopeful Andrew Jackson converted a penalty corner. It was quickly three when Ben Gregory intercepted a pass and raced through before firing past the keeper. Alderley showed more spirit throughout and it was four nil when great work from Rob Hughes saw him beat three defenders before his cross shot was neatly deflected in on the reverse stick volley by Sam Gregory.
The game was not all one way as Bowdon squandered several good opportunities and penalty corners and also hit the post, but it was Alderley who had the final word through Ben Gregory who after previously seeing the keeper make several good blocks produced an exquisite finish for his second and Alderley's fifth.
For further information on Alderley Edge Hockey Club visit www.aecc.org.uk.
Member post by James Riley.