During Half Term, players from the Great Britain Hockey women’s pathway trained together at Lilleshall National Sports Centre for the first time. Evie Smith (Fourth Form) was in attendance as a member of the England U16 Girls’ team and writes about the experience below.
“I was very privileged to be able to join this three-day residential camp. Attending were the Great Britain Senior Women, the Great Britain EPD (Elite Development Programme), the GB U18s and England U16. It was designed as an immersive programme with lots of on and off-pitch activities.
We started the camp by playing the U18 squad. Our U16 squad split into three teams and each team played one third of the match. I was fortunate to be selected to captain my team and although we lost our third 1-0, as it was against such strong opposition, we were still proud.
This was followed by a packed programme which included watching the GB Seniors train (their speed and intensity, even when training, was immense), and also having a technical session coached by the Senior Women.
Off the pitch, there were Q&A sessions with the senior internationals such as Izzy Petter and Giselle Ainsley in the evenings. It was such an amazing experience being integrated with world-class players who nonetheless were also very approachable. Unexpectedly finding myself chatting over breakfast with the GB Captain Holly Pearne-Webb, Fiona Crackles, Grace Balsdon and Sarah Robertson, all of whom I watched on TV win bronze medals at the Tokyo Olympics, will be something I will not forget in a hurry. It was a truly inspirational three days.”