England Colleges hockey squads take positives from first training camps
The England Colleges men’s and women’s national hockey teams both had their first training camps of the season during half term.
Players from the men’s squad travelled to Lincoln for a two-day camp incorporating training and matches.
The players trained together for the first time and then comfortably beat Lincoln University 7-0 in the afternoon. The goal scorers were Jon Tibble, Morgan Sturt, Adam Wade, Richard Hill, Joe Barber and Johnny Thompson with a brace.
A few hours later and tiredness kicked in as the team went down 6-1 against Lindum Hockey Club men’s 1st XI, with Rory Simons scoring the only goal.
The second day consisted of a recovery session and improvements from the previous match to take into a game against a Combined Armed Services U25s team.
The stand-out performer was Reigate College’s Jon Tibble who scored a hat-trick in England Colleges’ 3-2 victory.
Head Coach Terry Lavery said: “It was a great success with the team working and playing better together by the end of the camp – exactly what it’s designed to do with it being the first meet up of many players who don’t know each other.
“With three players unavailable and losing three players to injury during the camp, it was hard work for the remainder to handle the volume and intensity of the camp – something that was highlighted to the players is the requirement of conditioning at an international level to handle these high intensity short duration camps/meets.
“Everyone in the squad played their part in the games and training sessions. A couple of stand out performers throughout were Cameron Moore (Godalming) and James Donnachie (New College Pontefract) and with four goals including a hat-trick against the Combined Services U25s Jon Tibble (Reigate) deserves a mention.
Next up is two games in one day on 4 April against a British Asians Youth team who will boast several current and ex junior internationals in their ranks – great final preparations for the International fixtures against Wales U18s, England U16s and Scotland U18s.
Meanwhile the women’s squad travelled to the Wales Institute of Sport in Cardiff for their two-day training camp. The squad, coached by Laura Smith and Malcolm Pressly-Smith produced some excellent performances and went on to win their first game 2-1 and narrowly lose their second game 3-2 against a Welsh U18 side who were also on a training camp.
A particular mention should go to Olivia Wilde (Goldalming College) who played outstandingly across the two fixtures.
On the second day, the squad of 21 travelled to Cardiff University for a morning of training. This was an opportunity to work on aspects from the match the previous afternoon such as goal scoring technique, moving the ball out the back and defending in pairs. They then travelled back to the WIS for an afternoon game against the same Welsh side.
Coach Laura Smith said: “Every single player over the two days stepped up and performed. It was great to see the team bonding so quickly and performing so well together considering they had only all just met for the first time.”
The squad will be traveling to Wales again in May half term for another two day camp.
The next calendar fixture is against RAF on Sunday March 8.
For more details about the England Colleges national team please visit the dedicated hockey pages.